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Psicothema was founded in Asturias (northern Spain) in 1989, and is published jointly by the Psychology Faculty of the University of Oviedo and the Psychological Association of the Principality of Asturias (Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos del Principado de Asturias).
We currently publish four issues per year, which accounts for some 100 articles annually. We admit work from both the basic and applied research fields, and from all areas of Psychology, all manuscripts being anonymously reviewed prior to publication.

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Characteristics and risk factors in juvenile sexual offenders

Sandra Siria1, Enrique Echeburúa1, and Pedro J. Amor2

1 Universidad del País Vasco and
2 Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)

Background: It is estimated that juvenile sexual offences constitute about 7% of the total annual rate of sexual offences in Spain. Nevertheless, research on Spanish juvenile sex offenders (JSO) is virtually non-existent. This paper analyzes the risk factors related to sexual violence committed by adolescents. Method: The participants were 73 adolescents (M = 15.68 years, SD = 1.12) aged between 14 and 18, who were serving a sentence for committing a sexual offence in various Spanish Autonomous Regions. In this descriptive study multiple methods were used to collect the data: court records, self-reports, along with an interview with the JSO and with the professionals involved. Results: Risk factors related to family history, certain personality characteristics, and the development of “inadequate sexualisation” (96% of cases) were analyzed. This latter variable was mainly related to an early onset of pornography consumption (70%), to a sexualized family environment (26%), and to sexual victimization during childhood (22%). Conclusion: These results are consistent with international research on juvenile sex offending, so we can conclude that the process of development of sexualization from infancy onwards should be deeply examined with regard to sexual violence.

Características y factores de riesgo en jóvenes ofensores sexuales. Antecedentes: la violencia sexual cometida por adolescentes supone alrededor del 7% de los delitos sexuales denunciados anualmente en España. Sin embargo, la investigación con jóvenes ofensores sexuales (JOS) en población española es casi inexistente. En este trabajo se analizan los factores de riesgo relacionados con la violencia sexual cometida por adolescentes. Método: los participantes fueron 73 adolescentes (M = 15.68 años, DT = 1.12, rango entre 14 y 18) que estaban cumpliendo una medida judicial por delitos contra la libertad sexual en diferentes comunidades autónomas españolas. En este estudio descriptivo se emplearon diversos métodos para recoger los datos: revisión de expedientes, autoinformes y una entrevista aplicada a los JOS y a los profesionales implicados. Resultados: se analizaron los factores de riesgo vinculados a la historia familiar, a determinadas características de personalidad y al desarrollo de una “sexualización inadecuada” (96% de los casos) relacionada, fundamentalmente, con un inicio precoz en el consumo de pornografía (70%), un ambiente familiar sexualizado (26%) y la presencia de victimización sexual durante la infancia (22%). Conclusiones: los resultados son coherentes con investigaciones internacionales. El desarrollo de la sexualización desde la infancia debe ser examinado en mayor profundidad con respecto a la violencia sexual.

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