Enlarge Slide 23 Here are a few quick pointers for you to keep in mind: The family therapist can help the family and juvenile gain a greater understanding of attitudes and beliefs that may have contributed to the sexual acting out. Books and media resources for parents and others on sex abuse and other topics. Sexual interest in much younger teens or even younger children is a red flag, says Ballantyne. Secrecy that is paired with a sense that your teen is acting out of character or seems otherwise unwell—this may signal a problem. Not every community has a private therapist who specializes in this topic check www.
Discussions about these kinds of goals and how to achieve them can be very motivating to parents or caregivers. Community Support Networks Enlarge Slide 21 Members of community support networks can assume a host of key responsibilities related to promoting and supporting the success of juvenile sex offenders, including: Family members can be brought closer together in a defensive circle that maintains the offender did nothing wrong. The family can feel lost in the confusion and procedures of the child protective and legal system. Some states have sex offender treatment boards that offer lists of clinicians who have training in working with juvenile sex offenders. Legal counsel is often involved, which is necessary, but makes things all the more complicated. If you have suspicions about possible sexual activity between your teenager and sibling or other child, it can be time to seek professional help. Teach parents about sex offending behavior and debunk common myths e. Being involved with multiple agencies or professionals can be anxiety—provoking and embarrassing. It is very important to find a licensed therapist who is qualified in the areas of family dynamics and a Clinical Member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. On the other hand, the family members may react with extreme anger toward the juvenile with sexual behavior problems, even to the point of rejection of the teenager. The concern here is not with typical teenage romances, even if there is some age difference or one party is under the age of consent which is at least 16 in every state. And family members and caregivers should be approached as critical collaborators. Offers online educational materials about the effects of sexual and physical abuse on women and children. Process the potential underlying contributors to the denial and resistance. Sometimes, family members are divided in loyalties, with some supporting the alleged offender and some the victim. Identifying and working with members of community support networks. Identify common ground and common goals. Let parents know that they can play a very significant role in ensuring that their child is responsive to the expectations of the juvenile justice system and receives the services that he needs to be successful and not reoffend. Another is substance abuse, especially if used in conjunction by the teenager with dating and possible sexual activity. All of this would be during an investigation in which family members would be interviewed and unsure how to handle it. They can seem complicated to us as system actors, so imagine how confusing and difficult they may be for juveniles and their parents or caregivers. Or, as mentioned, the family could feel anger at the juvenile for the alleged behavior and embarrassed over what has been reported, or concerned about the impact of abuse on the sibling. In addition, parents and caregivers may not be particularly good at establishing and consistently maintaining appropriate structure, discipline, and behavioral limits in the family environment, which impacts their capacity to support our supervision efforts. Neither situation is cause for panic. Critical Collaborative Partners Parents and caregivers are perhaps the most logical and influential examples of community support network members for juvenile sex offenders.
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