Public Policy Center, University of Nebraska


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Published as: Spice, A., Viljoen, J. L., Elkovitch, N., Scalora, M. J., & Ullman, D. L. (2013) Risk and protective factors for recidivism among juveniles who have offended sexually. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 25, 347-369.

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Copyright 2013 SAGE Publications. Used by permission.


Literature on risk factors for recidivism among juveniles who have sexually offended (JSOs) is limited. In addition, there have been no studies published concerning protective factors among this population. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of risk and protective factors to sexual and nonsexual recidivism among a sample of 193 male JSOs (mean age = 15.26). Youths were followed for an average of 7.24 years following discharge from a residential sex offender treatment program. The risk factor opportunities to reoffend, as coded based on the Estimate of Risk of Adolescent Sexual Offense Recidivism, was associated with sexual recidivism. Several risk factors (e.g., prior offending; peer delinquency) were associated with nonsexual recidivism. No protective factors examined were associated with sexual recidivism, although strong attachments and bonds as measured by the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth was negatively related to nonsexual recidivism. These findings indicate that risk factors for nonsexual recidivism may be consistent across both general adolescent offender populations and JSOs, but that there may be distinct protective factors that apply to sexual recidivism among JSOs. Results also indicate important needs for further research on risk factors, protective factors, and risk management strategies for JSOs.