Therapy for juvenile offenders
Therapy for juvenile offenders is important because:
- 1. Reporting of the abuse results in the offender facing stigmatization from members of the family, and the community
- 2. Exposure to the criminal justice system impacts the child and the family
- 3. The juvenile offender may have been the victim of sexual abuse
- 4. In addition to being a sex offender, the juvenile may have other problems (truancy, poor school performance, substance abuse, conduct disorder) which also need to be addressed
Therapy has to be empathetic, and the juvenile offender should be allowed to set the pace of therapy.
In therapy the juvenile is allowed to
- talk about the offence and its consequences in a non-judgmental environment;
- talk about their own lives; and
- explore thoughts and feelings related to sex and sexuality.
The goal of therapy is to help the juvenile to become a responsible and trustworthy member of society.
The family of a juvenile offender will also need therapy – to accept what has happened, to be able to deal with their own emotions, and to rebuild their lives.