Background, offence characteristics, and criminal outcomes of Aboriginal youth who sexually offend: a closer look at Aboriginal youth intervention needs

Sex Abuse. 2007 Sep;19(3):257-83. doi: 10.1177/107906320701900306. Epub 2007 Aug 15.


Canada's Aboriginal peoples face a number of social and health issues. Research shows that Aboriginal youths are over-represented in the criminal justice system and youth forensic psychiatric programmes. Within the literature on sex offending youth, there appears to be no published data available to inform clinicians working with adjudicated Aboriginal youth. Therefore, the present study examines the background, offence characteristics, and criminal outcomes of Aboriginal (n = 102) and non-Aboriginal (n = 257) youths who engaged in sexual offending behaviour and were ordered to attend a sexual offender treatment programme in British Columbia between 1985 and 2004. Overall, Aboriginal youths were more likely than non-Aboriginal youths to have background histories of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), substance abuse, childhood victimization, academic difficulties, and instability in the living environment. Both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youths had a tendency to target children under 12-years-old, females, and non-strangers. Aboriginal youths were more likely than non-Aboriginal youths to use substances at the time of their sexual index offence. Outcome data revealed that Aboriginal youths were more likely than their non-Aboriginal counterparts to recidivate sexually, violently, and non-violently during the 10-year follow-up period. Furthermore, the time between discharge and commission of all types of re-offences was significantly shorter for Aboriginal youths than for non-Aboriginal youths. Implications of these findings are discussed with regards to the needs of Aboriginal youth and intervention.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / ethnology*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / ethnology
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Services, Indigenous / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Juvenile Delinquency / ethnology*
  • Male
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Offenses / ethnology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors