Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Teenage sex offenders-Rehabilitation, Teenage sex offenders-Psychology, Responsibility in adolescence, Empathy, Attachment disorder in adolescence, Juvenile sex offenders, Taking responsibility


This qualitative empirical study explores the perceptions of clinicians helping juvenile sexual offenders take responsibility for their offenses and how it enhances treatment outcomes. Twelve clinicians from a single, residential treatment program for male juvenile sexual offenders, ages 5-20, located in Northeastern United States, were interviewed and asked a series of questions about how they work with juvenile sexual offenders to take responsibility for the sexual offenses. Interview questions addressed a variety of issues relating to taking responsibility, including the influence of developmental and trauma histories, the disclosure process in different settings such as individual, group and family therapy, assessing progress in treatment (and in the milieu), effective clinical interventions and the influence of sociocultural factors such as sexual orientation and socioeconomic status. The major findings were descriptions, amongst interviewees, of common approaches and experiences in working with juvenile sexual offenders around taking responsibility for his offenses. Interviewees described the importance of the disclosure experience, particularly to a student's family and underscored the similarities between thinking and behavior patterns that led to the sexual offending and other problematic, but non-sexual behaviors. Interviewees acknowledged the treatment benefits of a long-term residential program for this population, such as being able to work with the "whole child" to address the complexities that led to the sexual offending and support meaningful, lasting change. Future research might investigate the clinical benefits of milieu treatment with this population.




129 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 120-124)