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date: 19 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Sex offending has been considered an adultlike criminological phenomenon requiring adult-focused measures and interventions. Since the 1990s, growing concerns regarding youth involved in sexual offenses led to the importation of inappropriate repressive adult-focused policies to respond to the emerging issue of juvenile sexual offending. In fact, However, these repressive measures are based on misperceptions, myths, and unsubstantiated claims about sexual offending and have been shown to be ineffective in reducing sexual recidivism rates and Longitudinal studies on the development of crime and delinquency have enabled description of the sexual offending across life stages. This chapter reviews current knowledge of the development of sexual offending by using a criminal career approach while examining parameters such as prevalence, onset, frequency, continuity, and desistance from sexual offending. The criminal career perspective is a fruitful avenue to guide policy development for the prevention of sexual offending with evidence-based information that recognizes developmental differences between adolescents and adults.

Keywords: continuity, criminal careers, desistance, longitudinal studies, onset, sexual recidivism, sexual offending

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