NEARI Press and Training Center Newsletter - Volume 11, Issue 3: April 2018
Collateral Consequences of Juvenile Sex Offender Registration and Notification:
Results from a Survey of Treatment Providers
Happy Spring to one and all -- it's wonderful here in Massachusetts at NEARI Press and Training Center to see small green buds peeping out from their no-longer dormant branches!  Spring has also birthed NEARI Press & Training Center’s  newly-revised website . We have a new look and new information! Check us out at !

ANNIVERSARY! It was ten years ago this month that we launched the NEARI Newsletter! Thank you to NEARI Press & Training Center's founding Director, Joan Tabachnick, for her brilliant initiative in creating this research-to-practice resource, and to David Prescott, who has donated myriad hours working with us on the analysis of research articles for so many years.

This month, we bring you analysis of a research-to-policy article from 2016 – maybe not as new an article as others we have covered -- but one with sustained and vital importance to the work that we do.  “Collateral Consequences
of Juvenile Sex Offender Registration and Notification: Results From a Survey of Treatment Providers”  by Andrew J. Harris, Scott M. Walfield, Ryan T. Shields, and Elizabeth J. Letourneau, examines treatment providers’ perspectives on how sex offender registration and notification (SORN) impacts youth who have perpetrated sexual harm. The overwhelming majority of those surveyed noted the pervasively negative effects of SORN on youth, prompting the authors to suggest the need for a “programmatic shift in American criminal justice policy as it applies to youth with problem sexual behavior.”  

In June, we will be offering a three-day training by Phil Rich, Conducting Juvenile Sexual Risk Assessments. See below for more information, or go to our in-person training page!

NEARI Training Center just completed our webinar “mini-series” presented by faculty from the National Center on the Sexual Behavior of Youth (NCSBY) on clinical assessment and decision-making for children with problematic sexual behavior. The feedback from these webinars has been magnificently positive and we hope to host NCSBY again next year to share more about their research and approaches.  We will close out the 2017-18 webinar series in May and June with two more exceptional webinars: Su Robinson on working with teenage girls with sexual behavior problems and Robert Wright on working with LGBTQ+ youth with sexual behavior problems. As always, CEs are available. We hope you’ll join us.

Be sure to follow NEARI Press and Training Center on Twitter at @NeariPress and @NeariP2P , and  on Facebook to get updates about all that we are doing. 
As always, we look forward to hearing from you about the articles, authors, and topics you’d like us to cover in the NEARI e-Newsletter, our webinars, and our in-person trainings. Please contact Alisa if you have ideas and thoughts about the particular kinds of books, workbooks, and training you’d like to see NEARI Press and Training Center offer in the coming year. Thank you for your interest in NEARI, and for the vital work that you do to keep children and adults safe from sexual harm,
Craig Latham, Executive Director, NEARI 
Alisa Klein, Director, NEARI Press and Training Center,  
This month, David S. Prescott and Alisa Klein examine the article:

Collateral Consequences of Juvenile Sex Offender Registration and Notification: Results From a Survey of Treatment Providers .”
Andrew J. Harris, Scott M. Walfield, Ryan T. Shields, and Elizabeth J. Letourneau
(Please see below for full citation and abstract.)

What do treatment providers perceive as the impact of sex offender registration and notification (SORN) policy and practice on youth who have perpetrated sexual harm? Specifically, how does SORN affect these youth with regard to their mental health, problems at school, exposure to harassment and unfair treatment, living instability, and risk of reoffending? And lastly, what are the policy implications of SORN consequences on youth? 

Despite traditional juvenile justice policy that recognizes the need for youthful offender-specific policy that is separate from policy for adult offenders, in recent years, SORN policies designed for adult sex offenders have been applied to youth in at least 34 states. Recognizing the unique perspective treatment providers have about the impact of policy on their clients, the authors issued an online survey to 265 U.S.-based treatment providers to understand how they perceive the impact and collateral consequences of SORN on youth with sexual behavior problems. For the survey, the authors developed 42 items to assess five key domains in which collateral consequences of SORN might occur:

  1. Mental health problems;
  2. Harassment and unfair treatment;
  3. School problems;
  4. Living instability; and
  5. Risk of reoffending.

The respondents were asked to respond regarding consequences in all five of these domains with regard to both 1) registration; and 2) notification.  With regard to registration, in four out of five of the domains, a majority of respondents agreed that youth subjected to registration would be more likely to experience negative consequences than youth without registration requirements. While a majority of providers did not feel that registration might increase the risk of youth to reoffend, 18 percent did feel like registration heightened risk for reoffense. 

Likewise, with regard to notification, a majority of respondents agreed that youth subjected to notification would be more likely to experience negative consequences than youth without notification requirements, and that notification was not likely to increase youth recidivism. A strong majority of providers cited shame, embarrassment, and a sense of aloneness as negative mental health outcomes of notification, and an increased lack of personal safety as an additional outcome. Interestingly, more providers felt that notification could increase youths’ likelihood to recidivate. Specifically, 35% of providers reported that youth subjected to notification could be at higher risk to sexually recidivate than youth with no notification requirements. The authors note that the differential here between perceived consequences of registration and notification are logical because of the fact that public notification is a more “significant form of public shaming than registration” since the public, and not just law enforcement, are alerted about a youth’s status as a “sex offender.” 

The authors conclude that current public policy trends in response to the perpetration of sexual offenses are contrary to evidence-based best practices for youth with sexual behavior problems. When sanctions designed for adult sex offenders are applied to youth, the developmental and psychosocial contexts of youthful offending are ignored. The results of this study “join a growing chorus of voices” concerned with the application of policies intended for adult offenders to juveniles who have perpetrated sexual harm. 

Professionals will want to bear these findings in mind when making recommendations about youth who have abused.  In our rush to reduce risk and ensure safety for all, it can be easy to overlook the toll that shame and social isolation can take on young people and those around them. While many in the lay public will disagree with this sentiment, the question that all professionals should ask first is, “Do we want them to do it again or not”? If problems forming relationships (including due to shame and social isolation) are risk factors for abusing, should we not do everything in our power to be helpful in this regard? Ultimately, these findings remind us that the most effective responses to abuse are those that that emphasize taking responsibility for one’s future as well as understanding one’s past. 

Perhaps the most striking element of this study is that no one believed that SORN would actually  decrease risk for re-offense. This fact alone should remind all who enter this field that punishment and SORN policies should not be confused with actual rehabilitation and reintegration into the community. Each may serve a purpose, and each may produce significant challenges for youth, their families, and the community when improperly applied (and especially when applied as one-size-fits-all approaches).  

Finally, this study shows once again that society’s approaches towards sexual abuse have long seen adult policies and practices extended downward to youth. This has too often occurred despite massive evidence that adolescents are not simply younger versions of adults who have abused. Their risks and needs are different, as are the interventions that help them build better lives. 

Among many in the research, policy, and practice communities, the application of sex offender registration and notification (SORN) to juveniles who sexually offend (JSO) has raised ongoing concerns regarding the potential collateral impacts on youths’ social, mental health, and academic adjustment. To date, however, no published research has systematically examined these types of collateral consequences of juvenile SORN. Based on a survey of a national sample of treatment providers in the United States, this study investigates the perceived impact of registration and notification on JSO across five key domains: mental health, harassment and unfair treatment, school problems, living instability, and risk of reoffending. Results indicate that treatment providers overwhelmingly perceive negative consequences associated with registration with an incremental effect of notification indicating even greater concern across all five domains. Providers’ demographics, treatment modalities, and client profile did not influence their perceptions of the collateral consequences suggesting that provider concern about the potential harm of SORN applied to juveniles is robust. Policy implications are discussed.
Harris, A.J., Walfield, S.M., Shields, R.T., & Letourneau, E.J. (2016). Collateral Consequences
of Juvenile Sex Offender Registration and Notification: Results From a Survey of Treatment Providers. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment , 28(8) 770–790. 
$450.00; Early bird special: $395 if registering before June 1, 2018 

CE's are available for licensed psychologists and social workers through our partnership with Orlando Behavior Health, LLC
Discounted hotel rooms available @ the Residence Inn Marriott in Albany. 
3-Day In-Person Course! CEs Offered!
Please join us for a training conducted by the ever-knowledgeable Phil Rich, Ed.D., MSW, for this on-site course in Albany, NY. This three-day workshop will provide instruction and practice experience in administration of sexual risk assessment for juveniles who have engaged in sexually abusive behavior. The course will cover the process of risk assessment, from theory, method, and instrumentation to applied practice, including case formulation. It will include cases studies and discussion and participant completion of risk assessments. Participants will gain a thorough understanding of juvenile sexual risk assessment, understand the use of risk assessment instruments, and gain feedback-driven practice experience.

Ph: Diane Langelier at 413.540.0712 x14
We have just two webinars left in this year's webinar season. And they are great ones! In May, Su Robinson will talk about her NEARI Press book, Growing Beyond, on working with teenage girls with sexual behavior problems. And in June, Robert Wright will be back to speak about working with LGBTQ youth with sexual behavior problems. CEs are available! Join us!
Bridging the Gaps Between Research and Prevention
The 24 th  Annual Conference of the Continuum of Services For Adolescents Who Have Sexually Offended (The Continuum)

May 7-8, 2018
in Toronto, Ontario

Renowned speaker and researcher, Dr. Michael Caldwell, will present on "The Decline in Juvenile Sexual Recidivism Rates: Implications for Assessment and Treatment," and Dr. Ryan Shields will present, "Help Wanted: A Public Health Approach to the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse."

Additional information and online registration:

Are you dedicated to pursuing anti-racist policies in the youth justice system?

If so, our friends at the National Juvenile Justice Network have created a Racial Justice Toolkit. It includes the following resources:

  1. Five Key Facts to Know About Racial Disparities in the Youth Justice System
  2. The Opportunity Agenda’s Ten Lessons for Talking About Race, Racism and Racial Justice
  3. NJJN’s Changing the Narrative Toolkit: How to Push Back Against Harmful Media Narratives About Youth of Color
  4. Resources on Racial Justice Disparity Data
By: Toni Cavanagh Johnson, Ph.D.
Duration: 3-4 hours; CE Credits: 4

By:   Joan Tabachnick
Duration: 1-2 hours; CE Credits: 2

By: David S. Prescott, LICSW
Duration: 3-4 hours; CE Credits: 4

By: Steve Bengis, Ed.D., L.C.S.W. 
Duration: 4-5 hours; CE Credits: 5

By Reverend Debra Haffner & Joan Tabachnick 
Duration: 3-4 hours; CE Credits: 4

by Jamie Suvak, L.M.H.C. 
Duration: 1-2 hours; CE Credits: 2

Please help NEARI Press and Training Center keep our annual webinar series free by becoming a sponsor of the series. Annually, we have a great lineup of nationally-recognized authors presenting their workbooks, research, and approaches to working with youth and adults with sexual behavior problems.  

For $98 for individuals, or $250 for organizations, we will guarantee you up to 14 seats for the webinar AND you have access to FREE CE credits . To thank you, we do all of the work to sign you up each month, offer you two free NEARI Press books, and publicize your sponsorship in all of our promotional literature and on the webinars. 

For more information or to sign up, visit our website at OR contact Diane Langelier at 413.540.0712 x14, email .
NEARI Press & Training Center provides resources and training for the prevention of sexual abuse. We are a source of practical, cutting-edge information about promising and best-practice interventions for individuals with sexual behavior problems. We believe that by addressing healthy sexual development in children and adolescents, and responding to sexual behavior problems in children, adolescents, and adults, we can prevent sexual abuse before it is perpetrated.
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