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Juvenile sex offenders

This project aims to investigate the problems and criminal careers of juvenile sex offenders, en to assess the effectiveness of treament. Juvenile sex offenders are an understudied group. At the same time, it appears that a relevant proportion of adult sex offenders often started offending sexually at an early age. Juvenile sex offenders are not an easy research object as they form an heterogeneous group: juvenile sex offenders may offend alone or in a group, against children, or against peers. Each type of juvenile sex offender has a particular set of distinguishing characteristics and aetiology. A second complication is that the group is in a statistical sense small. Thirdly, the base rate of sexual recidivism is low.

Using consecutive studies on cohorts of juvenile sex offenders, we attempt to gather data on a sample of sufficient size to carry out analyses. In each study we use the same format to study a broad array of pertinent characteristics, looking at demographic and social variables, personality characteristics, moral development and conscience formation. Information on criminal careers is gathered retrospectively before the sampling offence (self-reported as well as convictions), and prospectively from the sampling offence (convictions). The study is not only of academic interest, but also relevant for early risk assessment and intervention. Using propensity score matching we assess the effectiveness of (cognitive) behavioural therapy, on sexual as well violent and general recidivism. In 2009 the databse was enriched with data on employment, intimate relations and fatherhood; the follow-up stretches until on average age 29. This project is a collaboration between NSCR en FORA/De Waag. We compare findings with findings on female juvenile sex offenders, who are being studied at the VU University Amsterdam, and with findings on high-risk youth.

prof. dr. Catrien Bijleveld, prof. dr. Jan Hendriks (de Waag/VU University Amsterdam), Chantal van den Berg, MSc. (NSCR/Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

About prof. dr. mr. Catrien Bijleveld


Catrien Bijleveld graduated in 1986 with honours in Methods and Techniques of Social Research. In 1989 she was promoted to the analysis of categorical time series. After an appointment as a statistical consultant at TNO (Dutch Organisation for Applied Scientific Research), she spent seven years as a lecturer at the Department of Methodology and Statistics at the Department Psychology of Leiden University. In 1997 she was programme coordinator at the Research and Documentation Centre of the Ministry of Justice, where she was responsible among others for research on criminal justice, environmental enforcement, ex-TBS detainees, recidivism in general and foreigners.

In 2002 she graduated with honours in Law at Leiden University. As of 1 January 2001 to August 2014 she worked as a senior researcher at NSCR. Her research activities focus on research into criminal careers and (experimental) research into the effectiveness of interventions, juvenile sex offenders, historical trends and the intergenerational transmission of delinquent behaviour. Catrien Bijleveld is also professor in Methods and Techniques of Criminological Research at VU University, Amsterdam. She is a member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW) and a member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW). She was director of the NSCR till August 2019.

Catrien is a member of the Life-course Cluster, the Intergenerational Cluster and the Extremism/terrorism Cluster.

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