Empathy and adolescent sexual offenders: A review of the literature

T Varker, G Devilly, T Ward, Anthony Beech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)


A significant proportion of sexual offenses has been found to be committed by adolescent offenders. Although there is overlap in the backgrounds of adolescent sexual offenders and juvenile delinquents, in recent times there has been an increased effort to identify and treat adolescent sexual offenders as a distinct population. Adolescent sexual offenders are thought to be empathy deficient, with empathy development a commonly defined treatment goal. There is confusion, however, as to whether such empathy deficits are general in nature, are towards certain groups of people, or are own victim-specific. This article provides a review of the literature concerning empathy and adolescent sexual offenders and, based on this assessment, recommendations are made for future research. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-260
Number of pages10
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2008


  • juvenile sexual offenders
  • treatment
  • adolescent sexual offenders
  • empathy


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