Purpose: To examine the long-term sexual recidivism risk of juvenile sex offenders in England and Wales, and to compare the risk to that of a first time sexual offense for non-convicted juveniles. Additionally, the study explores the long term sexual recidivism risk of other types of juvenile offenders, and the long term violent recidivism risk of these groups.
Methods: The England and Wales Offenders Index was used to extract birth cohort data. Life table methods were used to estimate cumulative recidivism risk, and discrete time hazard models were used to compare hazard functions.
Results: At the five year period, 7% of juvenile sexual offenders have been reconvicted of a sexual offense; reaching 13% by the end of the 35 year follow-up. When the reconviction hazard of the juvenile sexual offenders was compared with the first sexual conviction risk of a non-convicted comparison group, the hazards converged statistically after 17 years.
Conclusions: The study has implications for the registration periods of juvenile sex offenders. Indefinite registration for some juveniles needs to be considered, and a review of registration after a conviction free period would provide more balance between the protection of the public and the rights of the offender.