Children Who Molest Children–Our Challenge

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1998, Vol 43(10), 707–708. The reviewer notes that this book (see record 1997-30222-000) is a comprehensive, informative, and easy-to-read overview of the phenomenon of sexually aggressive children. Sexually aggressive children are children aged 12 years or younger who engage in sexually aggressive behaviors usually toward siblings or peers. This work contains a breadth and depth of information that provides the reader with a sound appreciation of this complex social issue, in both clinical and educational settings. In addressing the issue of identifying and classifying sexually aggressive behaviors, Araji accurately notes that children's sexual behaviors occur on a continuum ranging from very natural behaviors to behaviors that can be considered sexually inappropriate, abusive, and aggressive. Having identified the behaviors of sexually aggressive children, Araji then moves to defining and integrating the social and psychological characteristics of this population, drawing on both published and unpublished sources. In particular, she points to the influence of familial culture and familial dynamics on the development, maintenance, and treatment of sexually aggressive behavior in children. Toward the end of the volume, Araji describes and critiques intervention techniques and programs used with sexually aggressive children. Araji uses the perspective of developmental psychopathology as an integrated framework to conceptualize the emergence of sexual aggression in children. The reviewer notes that Araji succeeds in contextualizing the phenomenon of sexually aggressive children within the broader social system. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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