Juvenile sex offenders are devoid of any real rehabilitation and may pose a threat to society as they grow older, the National Council for the Child (NCC) warned Sunday.
According to the NCC, unlike adult sex offenders, teens convicted of sex offenses are not offered any substantial treatment or rehabilitation, even if they are jailed.
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Israeli law makes no such provisions and therefore the courts cannot order treatment as part of rulings rendered in cases involving minors.
In a recent ruling, given in a matter of a teen convicted of aggravated sexual assault, the Supreme Court criticized the Israeli Prison Service for failing to provide him with therapy despite the fact that he was deemed dangerous.
"The IPS should make the necessary arrangements to offer minor inmates in need with professional therapy and rehabilitation while they are serving their sentence, so both their personal interest and those of the public are best served and to diminish whatever danger they pose for society," the court said.
The IPS countered: "For several years now, the IPS has been holding a successful therapy group for teens convicted of sexual offenses.
"Nevertheless, opening a group does depend on a certain number of participant and various other criteria, most notably their willingness to undergo rehabilitation."
'Potential terror attack'
NCC Director Dr. Yitzhak Kadman warned that "Every teen that is released without treatment is a terror attack waiting to happen."
He said that his organization has been pushing for a change in legislation for years, but to no avail.
Kadman blamed "governmental bickering" for the maze of red tape the NCC is encountering.
"Unlike in matters concerning adult sex offenders, nothing has been done in the matter… This goes beyond discrimination, this is about abandoning small children and exposing them to repeated sexual abuse by unsupervised and untreated offenders."
Dr. Talia Etgar, of the Elem Association for at-risk youths, said that "The IPS is doing excellent work, but they are not obligated by law to provide teen sex offenders with therapy."
Etgar believes that group therapy is not the only option, but agrees that it is imperative. "Treatment and therapy are critical, but we have to be able to tailor them to each teenager's needs."
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