• Linda Naidoo PhD candidate, Department of Social Work, School of Applied Human Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Vishanthie Sewpaul Department of Social Work, School of Applied Human Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal


This study, based on the case studies of 25 adolescent sex offenders, was designed to understand those factors that contribute to adolescent sexual offending. Although the focus is primarily on the micro level, we acknowledge the impacts of mezzo- and macro-level factors on family and individual functioning. External structural factors such as poverty, inequality, unemployment, societal values regarding sexuality, lack of support systems and violence penetrate the lives of individuals and families to manifest in a range of problems that human service professionals such as psychiatrists, social workers and psychologists deal with on a daily basis.


BARBAREE, H.E. & LANGTON, C.M. 2006. The effects of child sexual abuse and family environment. In: BARBAREE, H.E. & MARSHALL, W.L. (eds) The juvenile sex offender (2nd ed). New York: Guilford Press, 58-76.

BORDUIN, C.M., MUNSCHY, R.W., WAGNER, D.V. & TAYLOR, E.K. 2011. International perspectives on the assessment and treatment of sex offenders: theory, research and practice. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.

BRIGGS, F. 1995. From victim to offender: how child sexual abuse victims become offenders. New South Wales: Allen & Unwin Pty Ltd.

COYNE, I.T. 1997. Sampling in qualitative research. Purposeful and theoretical sampling merging or clear boundaries? Journal of Advanced Nursing, 26:623-630.

DENNISON, S. & LECLERC, B. 2011. Developmental factors in adolescent child sexual offenders: A comparison of non-repeat and repeat sexual offenders. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 38(11):1089-1102.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT. 2008. Child Justice Act 75 of 2008. Pretoria: Government Printers.

DOMINELLI, L. 2002. Anti-oppressive social work theory and practice. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

HAGELE, D.M. 2005. The impact of maltreatment on the developing child. NC Med J, 66(5):356-359.

HUNTER, J., FIGUEREDO, A., MALAMUTH, N. & BECKER, J. 2003. Juvenile sex offenders: towards the development of a typology. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 15:27-48. [Online] Available: http://link. article/10.1023/A:1020663723593#page-1 [Accessed: 17/08/2013].

JEWKES, R., NDUNA, M., JAMA SHAI, N. & DUNKLE. K. 2012. Prospective study of rape perpetration by young South African men: incidence and risk factors. [Online] Available: Fjournal.pone.0038210 [Accessed: 17/08/2013].

LANNING, K.V. 2001. Child molesters: a behavioral analysis for law-enforcement officers investigating the sexual exploitation of children by acquaintance molesters. Virginia: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. [Online] Available: analysis.pdf [Accessed: 17/08/2013].

MILLS, G. 2011. Why Africa is poor and what Africans can do about it. Johannesburg: Penguin Books.

MULLALY, B. 2010. Challenging oppression and confronting privilege. Ontario: Oxford University Press.

OATES, K. 2007. Invited commentary juvenile sex offenders. Child Abuse & Neglect, 31(7):681-682.

O’HALLORAN, M.C.A. & O’REILLY, G. 2002. Psychological profiles of sexually abusive adolescents in Ireland. Child Abuse and Neglect, 26(4):349-370.

PETERSEN, I., BHANA, A. & McKAY, M. 2005. Sexual violence and youth in South Africa: the need for community-based prevention interventions. Child Abuse & Neglect, 29(11):1233-1248.

RECKDENWALD, A.M.C. & BEAUREGARD, E. 2013. The cycle of violence: examining the impact of maltreatment early in life on adult offending. Violence and Victims, 28(3):466-482.

SEWPAUL, V. 2005. A structural justice approach to family policy: a critique of the draft South African Family Policy. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk, 41(4):310-322.

SMALLBONE, S.W. 2005. Attachment insecurity as a predisposing and precipitating factor for sexually abusive behavior by young people. In: CALDER, M.C. (ed) Children and young people who sexually abuse: new theory, research and practice developments. Dorset, UK: Russell House, 6-18.

VIZARD, E.H., HICKEY, N., FRENCH, L. & McCRORY, E.J. 2007. Children and adolescents who present with sexually abusive behaviour: a UK descriptive study. Journal of Forensic Psychology and Psychiatry, 18(1):59-73

WINOKUR, K.P.H., DEVERS, L.N., HAND, G.A. & BLANKENSHIP, N. 2009. Child on child sexual abuse needs assessment: a literature review. Department of Children and Families. [Online] Available: http://childonchildsexualabuse preventiontask Literature_Review2.pdf [Accessed: 17/08/2013].

WORLING, J.R. & CURWEN, T. 2000. Adolescent sexual offender recidivism: success of specialised treatment and implications for risk prediction, Child Abuse and Neglect, 24(7):965-982.