|The Safer Society|
Handbook of Assessment and Treatment of Adolescents Who Have Sexually Offended
|Review Submitted by Becky Palmer, MS|
Edited by Sue
Righthand, PhD and William D. Murphy, PhD.
Professionals who have provided clinical
services to adolescents or have parented adolescents know just how quickly teens
change and grow. So it is with the field of assessment and treatment of
adolescents who have sexually offended. Many years ago, the assessment and
treatment programs for adolescents were often pared down versions of what was
being delivered to adult sex offenders. Developmentally we know that teens are
different than adults, they are still growing and changing. This specialization,
in the past, while wanting to attend to the needs of teens and their families,
didn’t always get it right. In the very early days, adolescents who had
committed sexual offenses were treated as criminals and questioned like adults.
What we know and understand about adolescents who have sexually offended has increased
many fold over recent years to better meet the needs of these youth.
Sue Righthand and Bill Murphy, who have
co-edited this compendium, have gathered a cadre of experts in the field, to
author numerous chapters which shed light on what is currently best practice for
adolescents who have committed sexual offenses.
What the reader will find in these five hundred
and thirty-one pages are fifteen chapters dedicated to helping professionals
understand the recent best practices as they relate to adolescents who have
sexually offended. This book is divided into four sections: Part I Characteristics of Adolescents Who
Sexually Offend consists of four chapters outlining adolescent development,
the legal implications for youth who sexually offend, the search for
distinctive features of juveniles who sexually offend and the life course view
of juvenile sexual offending. Part II
Assessment dives into forensic assessments of juveniles as well as the best
clinical approaches for high quality assessments. And lastly in this section, an
excellent chapter identifying risk assessment tools that have historically been
used to assess risk. This chapter identifies the categories that need to be
covered and addressed in the youth’s risk assessment report. Part III Intervention outlines how best
to engage the adolescent and family into the treatment process, what is
currently evidence-based practices and treatment and the many considerations
for community reentry and family reunification. While this section doesn’t explain
how to do therapy, each author has been diligent to provide a multitude of
references for the reader. Part IV
Special Issues is mindful to direct the reader to consider the assessment
and treatment of youth with developmental disabilities as well as how trauma
impacts the mental health concerns of each youth in treatment. Importantly, in
this section adolescent females who sexually offend is being addressed and
helps the reader to identify the different treatment and assessment needs.
Bringing us into the 21st Century the chapter on pornography use and
youth produced digital images among adolescents will be most helpful to treatment
providers. Any book about adolescents who sexually offend is not complete without
addressing the policy issues surrounding the criminological perspective.
Co-editors Righthand and Murphy have chosen
authors whose expertise is providing the reader with historical context and
moving into current best practice. The reader should not be disappointed that
this book is not a “how-to” do assessment and treatment of adolescents who have
sexually offended but should revel in the fact they have been provided a sound
framework of theory, history and insight into what a responsible and ethical
practitioner needs for delivering competent treatment and assessments for youth
and their families.
Readers can certainly expect to find robust
bibliographies at the end of each chapter. Each author has done an excellent
job of outlining the needs of youth who have sexually offended and each reader
will be pleased to have this book to refer to when updating their knowledge and
practice, or redesigning existing programs to meet the needs and challenges of
working with adolescents who have sexually offended.