Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Grace Telesco

Committee Member

Abigail Tucker

Committee Member

Jennifer Allen


attitudes, juvenile sex offender, recidivism, registration, support


The collateral consequences and harmful effects of juvenile sex offender registration and restrictions has been the forefront of conversation surrounding sex offender legislation in the United States. The literature available has consistently shown that juveniles profoundly differ from adults in significant areas such as decision making, cognitive capability, judgment, and overall development. The literature has also consistently shown that juvenile sex offenders are amenable to treatment, have considerably low recidivism rates, and are unlikely to offend into their adulthood. Despite this, and even though the juvenile justice system prioritizes rehabilitation over punitive measures, juvenile sex offenders are commonly subjected to a sex offender registration and notification system that was initially developed and intended for adults.

The purpose of this research was to gather information regarding community attitudes towards juvenile sex offenders and juvenile sex offender registration in Virginia. Using the Attitudes Towards Sex Offenders-Juvenile Stem Version (ATSO) scale, the researcher collected data regarding attitudes towards juvenile sex offenders from a sample of Virginians (N = 198). The researcher also sought to understand the level of support Virginians had towards juvenile sex offender registration. The Support for Juvenile Sex Offender Registration (SJSOR) scale was used to collect this data. The scores were broken down over various demographic variables to determine if they could predict scores on each of the scales used in this study. The study revealed that political affiliation was a significant predictor for ATSO-Juvenile Stem Version scale scores, and that political affiliation and ATSO-Juvenile Stem Version scale scores were significant predictors for SJSOR scale scores. A discussion on juvenile sex offender registration reform in Virginia was provided.