Juvenile Sexual Offenders Compared to Juvenile Offenders in General in Western Australia
Australian & New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Psychology
The literature in the field of juvenile offending reveals an ongoing debate about whether juvenile sexual offenders form a distinct group when compared to juvenile offenders in general. This is a very complex question because of the dynamics of sexual offending. When we examined the data collected from the official records of 334 juvenile sexual offenders convicted in Western Australia between 1990 and 1998 we found that nearly three-quarters of them were also convicted of other offences. It appeared that for most of them sexual offending was part of a much more pervasive pattern of juvenile offending. Our literature review revealed that most studies that compared juvenile sexual offenders with other juvenile offenders failed to find systematic differences. In order to explore this further we compared the demographic characteristics and offence histories of our sample with that of the total juvenile offender population in Western Australia during the same period using data obtained from the Crime and Justice Statistics for Western Australia. These statistics are published annually by the Crime Research Centre of the University of Western Australia (CRC). In spite of the relatively fewer females and relatively more Aboriginal people among the juvenile sexual offenders, we conclude that there is not a conspicuous difference between the demographic characteristics and offence patterns of juvenile sexual offenders and that of all juvenile offenders in Western Australia.