Addressing Sexual Violence Against Youth in Custody: Youth Workers’ Handbook
Sexual abuse in custody can and often does have lifelong effects on youth. Youth who are sexually abused or experience sexual violence can suffer higher rates of drug use, have disproportionate contact with the criminal justice system into adulthood, become victimizers, and/or have higher rates of mental illness than youth who do not suffer sexual abuse.1 In addition, sexual abuse by staff or other youth in custody compromises safety and security as well as the overall mission of juvenile justice systems—to protect and rehabilitate youth.
This handbook aims to educate juvenile justice professionals about the following: Why juvenile justice professionals should be concerned about sexual abuse of youth in custody; How culture and environment contribute to sexual abuse of youth in custody; Tools that will help identify, address, and respond to sexual abuse of youth in custody; How to investigate allegations of sexual abuse of youth in custody; Useful legal tools for prosecuting sexual abuse of youth in custody; [and] Preventive measures for juvenile justice agencies”. Sections of this handbook include: introduction; the landscape of juvenile justice agencies; sexual abuse of youth in custody; youth in custody—the role of adolescent development in preventing sexual abuse; culture of youth facilities; identifying inappropriate staff-on-youth and youth-on-youth relationships; medical and mental health care for victims; investigating sexual abuse of youth in custody—duties of a first responder; rights of staff when an allegation of staff sexual misconduct is made; legal liability and sanctions for sexual abuse of youth in custody; preventive strategies; and conclusion.