Encyclopedia of Sexuality and Gender

Living Edition
| Editors: Amy D. Lykins

Juvenile Sexual Offending

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-59531-3_30-1



Juveniles who sexually offend (JWSO) are youth who have committed a chargeable sexual offense. In developmental terms, JWSO are believed to be mature enough to be held responsible for their actions (i.e., they have reached an age where they are no longer considered children), but they are not held accountable to the same extent as adults (Barbaree & Marshall, 2006). The exact acts that constitute sexual offenses and ages at which offenders are considered juveniles (versus children or adults) vary within and across national contexts.


Although juveniles have committed sexual offenses throughout history, contemporary society has been marked by an elevated interest in, and fear of, JWSO. In an analysis of books published since the early 1900s and digitized by Google Books, Harris and Socia (2016) found that usage of the term “juvenile sex offender” exhibited two small...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clemson UniversityClemsonUSA