Recent years have seen significant advances in professional practices for assessment, management and monitoring of youth who have engaged in sexually abusive behaviors. The field has moved from relying on practices derived from research with incarcerated adult sexual offenders to more developmentally-informed approaches. This ATSA Master Class reviews these advances with a focus upon ethical issues and decision-making when working with sexually abusive youth. Given the contextual nature of ethical decision-making, normative sexual development during childhood and adolescence is reviewed, and research on the prevalence of coercive sexual acts among community youth samples is summarized. A practical model of ethical decision-making is described and distinguished from legal, clinical, and risk management decision-making. The training concludes with a discussion of informed consent/assent, and the identification of unique ethical and professional practice issues emerging in the electronic era. Case vignettes are used throughout the workshop to illustrate situations where ethical and legal issues commonly arise.
Robert Kinscherff, PhD, JD is a clinical forensic psychologist and attorney who currently serves as a senior administrator and faculty member of the doctoral clinical psychology program at William James College in Massachusetts. He is also currently Senior Fellow in Law and Applied Neuroscience for a joint fellowship of the Center for Law, Brain and Behavior (Massachusetts General Hospital) and the Petrie-Flom Center (Harvard Law School) focused on juvenile justice. Dr. Kinscherff has overseen a statewide juvenile court clinic director, served as clinical director for residential and community programs for youth and young adults with high-risk sexual and aggressive behavior, and consulted nationally and internationally for state juvenile justice authorities. He has published widely on ethical, legal, and professional practice issues with sexually abusive juveniles and adults. For the American Psychological Association, he has served as a two-term Chair of the Ethics Committee, Chair of the Committee on Legal Issues, member of the Committee on Professional Practices and Standards, and current member of the Board of Professional Affairs.