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Adolescent Sexual Offenders and Second Chances.

Should adolescent sexual offenders get a second chance? In Gary Hughes Blog at The Australian, he asks an interesting question: How tough should we be on young offenders?
I have followed the debate with interest and I threw my opinion in. But…I have had a restless night pondering whether adolescent sex offenders should be given a second chance.

There is substantial evidence suggesting that sex offences, particularly those perpetrated by adolescents, follow a scale of escalation. My own experience as a sexual assault therapist echoes this. The secrecy and power dynamic that envelopes child sexual abuse makes it difficult to catch the adolescent sexual offenders first time around. It is not generally until they have committed an overtly violent and visible act, like rape, that they are caught and given either the assistance they need to learn new behaviours, or, they experience youth detention and all the negative learning that goes with it.

Surely then we all need to work toward lifting the secrecy. If we can somehow give our children a voice, to allow them to talk about what is happening to them, adolescent sexual offenders may well receive intervention and treatment prior to their sexual offending behaviours escalating.

Is it too late for a second chance once an adolescent has raped a child or adult? What do you think?

4 Response to "Adolescent Sexual Offenders and Second Chances."

ERIK said...


I think you have to be careful to give them a second chance. Maybe in some cases it can work if they are placed under supervision and by psychological help.
But I am not sure they deserve a second chance we had in Belgium several persons who did the same when they came out of prison.
So I have my doubts they deserve a second chance, it is a terrible crime.


Megan Bayliss said...

Hi there Erik
yes, it is indeeed a terrible crime and a difficult question to answer. Some sexual offenders are so young and are still victims themselves. Others, well, some have no history of sexual volence against them but long histories of witnessing domestic violence.
Where is that line? When does a young offender stop being a victim and become a sexual perpetrator.
Does anybody else have any thoughts to throw in?

Viktoria said...


When I was 12 I was raped by a boy in my neighborhood. He was 14. I had been molested by another boy who was friends with my family when I was 10-12. He was four years older. The rape happened about 2 months after the molestation ended. The first one used all kinds of threats and manipulations to keep me quiet and I did. After the rape I not only kept quiet, I made myself forget. The first one stayed friendly with my family but I don't see him ever. He took a picture of my family (me hubby kids) from my parents frig and when I was told he asked for it I got very uncomfortable and eventually woke up to everything. After I did research on my rapist 30 years later. Here is what I found:
He had 7 assault of female charges, several assault and AWDW charges and breaking and entering. He must also be a serious alcoholic based on the revoked license charges (about 15).

He sounds like a seriously troubled man. I imagine those 7 assault on female charges are the tip of the iceberg. It troubles me greatly that he is out there like a loaded gun ready to go off. After reviewing his prison record I don't have much confidence in his getting better. It would be better for the women in his town if he would.
He also has two daughters. I hope they are able to find there way with such a broken person as a father. I imagine they have seen much anger.
While I don't feel he is reachable now, I think maybe he would have been at 14. I think he was a victim too. Of what I am not sure. I just remember that he was acting out in delinquent ways for a couple of years prior to the rape. However, that was many years ago and I doubt the justice system in our southern town would have looked a reabilitation as an option.
One thing for sure. There are a lot of little girls going through what I went through and handling it the same way. So I feel this issue is much more prevelant than is realized by society.

The Troll said...

I imagine that the largest reason that many child abusers go undetected is that many of them are females in positions of trust, like babysitters. There is a kind of code of silence amongst female child abusers, especially at that age.
Ruth Mathews and others stand out as some of the precious few who are bold enough to examine this phenomenon.

As long as women and others look exclusively for male perpetrators, they will find only that, but many abused kids often discover that the very boundary that allowed set them up for abuse was broken first by a female child abuser.

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