Congratulations to the Department of Criminology's Christine Gervais (Associate Professor) and Elisa Romano (Psychology, uOttawa) who have published an article entitled "Safeguarding child rights and enhancing caregiver responsibilities among Canadian parents of youth who sexually offend". The paper appears in the most recent issue of Child Abuse & Neglect
Research on youth sexual offending has focused primarily on its prevalence. However, recent efforts have begun to consider the collateral consequences for the relatives of offending youth, although little has been done in this regard toward exploring caregiver accountability. This study presents qualitative data on parents’ sense of responsibility in situations where their child engaged in sexual offending behaviour against another child. We analyzed interview data among 16 parents from 10 families in Canada using thematic coding procedures. Findings illustrated the range of responsible actions that caregivers of sexual offending youth undertook with regard to preventing recidivism and accessing appropriate services for all the abuse-affected children. Caregivers reported on the enormous complexities they encountered as they attempted to simultaneously attend to the best interests of both the victim and offending youth. A particularly significant theme was that, despite the overwhelming challenges caregivers faced in dealing with the needs of their offending child, they were also highly attentive to the well-being of the victims. Our findings point to the importance of comprehensive and non-biased support services for both children and caregivers in order to fully uphold the rights of all affected individuals, and to better meet the needs as well as best interests of sexual abuse-affected children.