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Identification and treatment of juvenile offenders

Identification and treatment of juvenile offenders “Extrafamilial Abuse,” it was shown that approximately 25% of all
extrafamilial abuse is committed by young offenders whose abuse represents the extremes of socialization standards. These young men appeared to abuse for sport, as a
means of conquest, and through a sense of entitlement. Because of their youth, the more punitive model of labeling them as sex offenders, with all the stigma attached,
seems in some ways too harsh. While in no way wanting to diminish their responsibility for their crimes, a method that allows them to maintain responsibility
for their crime while also allowing them the potential to move beyond their offender
status seems more humanistic.
A model that can be used to accomplish both is restorative justice. In this model, offenders are held accountable to their victims and community members for
their crime, while also allowing for opportunities for dialogue, problem solving, and
negotiation among the victim, community members, and offender (Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking, 1997). Thus, offenders often meet with their
victims and community members in settings that are mediated by a professional.
While this model is most appropriate to adult victims, who might receive some sense
of empowerment from confronting their offender, this process could be modified to
make it appropriate for youthful sex offenders. Hearing about the impact of their
crime from representatives for the victim and having to make reparation to the victim
or community allows offenders to be held more personally accountable for their
behavior. Such a direct intervention might provide enough of an impact to youthful
offenders that they might modify future behavior. Such a method might also allow
first-time youthful offenders to avoid the lifetime stigmatization of being labeled a
sex offender.

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