Date of Award

2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Criminal Justice by Research

School

School of Arts & Humanities

First Advisor

Dr Natalie Gately

Second Advisor

Ms Suzanne Ellis

Abstract

Sexual offending by young people presents a serious and devastating issue effecting victims, families, and wider society. This has led investigative efforts to understand the efficacy of treatment programs to cease or at minimum reduce sexual recidivism. Evaluations examining treatment efficacy have predominately been conducted in the United States and Canada, with limited research focused exclusively on young sex offenders in Australia and New Zealand. To address the paucity of information, a systematic review of young sex offender treatment research in Australia and New Zealand was conducted. The systematic review employed a comprehensive search strategy and rigorous vetting procedure, which resulted in a summary of data from eight studies of 10 treatment programs. Average across those studies, the sexual recidivism rate was lower for the treatment groups (n = 75, 5.97%), compared to dropouts (n = 25, 10.92%) and treatment refusers (n = 39, 6.93%). Similar results were obtained for studies providing information on non-sexual recidivism. Efficacy however was difficult to ascertain as most evaluations did not report all required data. Therefore, gaps in knowledge and the associated methodological issues of the included studies are outlined. The outcome of this review details recommendations for treatment evaluations in criminology which will allow for more detailed and nuanced information on treatment efficacy. It is anticipated that results and recommendations will guide future efforts to evaluate treatment for young sex offenders, particularly regarding young Indigenous sex offenders

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