Knowledge of Juvenile Sex Offender Registration Laws Predicts Adolescent Sexual Behavior
Margaret C. Stevenson , Cynthia J. Najdowski & Tisha R. A. Wiley (2013): Knowledge of Juvenile Sex Offender Registration Laws Predicts Adolescent Sexual Behavior, Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 22:1, 103-118
Posted: 16 Jul 2018 Last revised: 31 Jul 2018
Date Written: 2013
Because juveniles can now be registered as sex offenders, we conducted a pilot study to investigate awareness of these policies and sexual behavior histories in a convenience sample of 53 young adults (ages 18 to 23, 79% women). These preliminary data revealed that 42% percent of participants were unaware that youth under the age of 18 can be registered as sex offenders, and when informed that they can be, participants were unaware of the breadth of adolescent sexual behavior that warrants registration. Furthermore, those unaware of juvenile registration policies, compared to those who were aware, were marginally more likely to have had sex prior to age 18. Thus, youth most at risk of registration were least aware of this possibility, suggesting that juvenile registration likely does little to deter many behaviors that are considered to be juvenile sex offenses.
Keywords: adolescent, sexual crime, risky sexual activity, early sexual activity
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