Episode 132 - Dr. Doyle Pruitt: Understanding and Responding to Youth Who Engage in Sexual Harm

Monday, November 25, 2013, 8:13:12 AM

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In this episode, Dr. Doyle Pruitt discusses the possibility of changing the narrative of youth and adolescents who engage in sexual harm. She argues that current perceptions of this population frame their situation in unhelpful ways and describes intervention approaches that can be used effectively with them.

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Average Rating: 4.3 stars (6 listener reviews )

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Average Rating: 4stars  review of dr. pruitt's podcast on youth who engage in sexual harm, Monday, February 10, 2014

By Anne Marie Parry :

I found Dr. Pruitt's podcast interview to be helpful and informative. She brought up several very good points about this population and how to be of service to them. I appreciated her description of focusing on changing the behaviors, and expressing that specific behaviors are not okay, while validating that the person is okay, and has positive and likable qualities. I also respected her assertion of using the label sex offender with these youth can produce shame and that it is important to view them as damaged or hurting children who need better coping skills and healing. Mentioning the Steubenville Ohio rape case that was in the news recently seemed a relevant example to this topic as well. It was also helpful to hear Dr. Pruitt's discussion of the treatment process or options that can be helpful with this population.

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Average Rating: 5stars  review, Monday, February 10, 2014

By Kelly F. :

I learned a lot from this podcast, it was interesting and informative. The podcast kept me engaged and interested the entire time. The part I found most interesting was when Dr. Pruitt was discussing the way society views sexuality in children. I was under the impression that there was no such thing as healthy sexual play in children and if there was any type of sexual contact between children it was always seen as something unhealthy or bad. I also appreciated her discussing how children may say they had sex but sex does not mean the same thing to a child as it does to an adult. I work with youth and learned this first hand. An adolescent girl told me she was having sex and without asking her what she meant by sex I just assumed we were speaking the same language. I discussed our conversation with the other team members on her case and found out that her definition of sex and my definition of sex were completely different. Understanding from the beginning that she had a different understanding of sex than I did might have changed the content of the conversation. I also found it refreshing that Dr. Pruitt did not like to label youth sex offenders because of the stigma in our society. Understanding that children do make mistakes and can learn from their mistakes is not a view many people have regarding sexual offenders. I would have liked to hear more of Dr. Pruitt’s thoughts on how our societies view of sex shapes the children and adolescents views of sex.

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Average Rating: 5stars  interesting podcast really changes perspectives, Saturday, February 01, 2014

By Rebecca :

This podcast was really interesting to me. I am interested in this population to work with and really feel that the podcast answered so many questions I may have had, as well as stated many of the misconceptions that often bother me. It was so thought provoking. I especially liked the fact that Dr. Pruitt brought up that many offenders know their victims beforehand, and that there is usually a part of that relationship that is good and healthy. Dr. Pruitt then goes on the state that the in addition to the trauma felt from the victim they also may be struggling with the fact that they lost that healthy part of the relationship as well, and that they do not alway see the perpetrator as all bad. I would be curious to know how to address that struggle for the victim. I also really appreciated the fact that Dr. Pruitt does not call them sex offenders. She is right as a society we typically believe that a child will make mistakes and will change behaviors many times over the course of their lives. However, there is no problem labeling a child a sex offender and believing that they will not change but instead will become an adult offender. In addition to this Dr. Pruitt explains how once they are registered they have that stick with them for years, which could be harmful. this brings up a few questions: Are those children that have done non-contact offenses against children level II as well? By this I mean those that were "sexting" and maybe did not know they were doing something wrong. Also, is making them register so that their name is there with information on where they live etc. as a minor against the law that mandates that all juvenile cases be sealed and be not open to the public in protection of the child? Overall I think it was a fantastic podcast, and is work that I think is very difficult and interesting. I would love the opportunity to pick Dr. Pruitt's brain sometime.

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Average Rating: 4stars  dr. doyle pruitt review, Thursday, January 30, 2014

By Kayla C :

I found this podcast very interesting and informative. There is so much research, discussion, and community awareness of adult sex offenders but there lacks knowledge, awareness, and needs of child engaging in harmful sexual behaviors. I think the most important point that Dr. Pruitt makes is that offenders are not all bad. As social workers, we need to look past the mistakes that a child may have made and look towards the good aspects of the person. Labels put on children engaging in sexual harm limit the ability of the child to change. Children make mistakes, learn from them, and change. Social workers offer help in the learning and change stages. As with anyone in society, social workers have morals. Some of their morals may contradict the help they may have to give children who cause sexual harm. Social workers need to be aware of their triggers and know how to deal with them or how to prevent being in situations where they are triggered. As Dr. Pruitt said, it is important to be aware of these when working with this population to prevent further harm. Social workers goal is to keep the child and others safe. That may include preventing the child who caused sexual harm from being in a situation to act out, to address the roots of the behaviors, and to prevent future harm. Dr. Pruitt mentions these things and that is where the process should lead a social worker and client who has caused sexual harm. Overall, I think Dr. Pruitt discusses a lot of important issues that are becoming more and more relevant in todays society.

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Average Rating: 4stars  podcast review- dr. doyle pruitt, Wednesday, January 29, 2014

By Jhila M. :

I really enjoyed this podcast, and I am glad to hear this topic being discussed. There is such a stigma associated with this population of people, and Dr. Doyle Pruitt does a wonderful job of addressing that stigma and bringing light to how multifaceted the situation can really be. I personally have had a chance to work with a similar population of individuals and found many of the suggestions made by Dr. Doyle Pruitt to be very informative and helpful. I have not done much research on laws pertaining to offenders, and was shocked to hear that a sexual crime committed by a 16 year old could potentially haunt that person till the age of 40, which completely contradicts the idea that children can grow and change. In addition to all the great information provided on this population, I think it was very good that Dr. Doyle Pruitt discussed how, as social workers, we must be aware of our own triggers and the challenges one might face when working with these individuals. As a social worker, it is very important to be aware of one's own feelings in order to go into a situation without judgments. I loved Dr. Doyle Pruitt's statement, "no one is born a sex offender," and as social workers I think it is very important to remember that if dealing with members of this population. Overall, I really enjoyed this podcast!

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Average Rating: 4stars  misconceptions of youth who engage in sexual harm., Tuesday, January 28, 2014

By Angel MR :

I found this podcast quite fascinating and very relevant to what is going on today. Dr. Pruitt discussed youth who engage in sexual harm and the harm that is done when they are prosecuted as an adult sex offender. She delves into the inner workings of the youth who engage in these behaviors, the idea that they have past histories of abuse, trauma and family members who also function poorly. Dr. Pruitt talks about engaging these youth with empathy and teaching them appropriate coping skills and healthy sexual ideas. She also brings up the stigmas associated with these offenses and how the youth could feel isolated and because of this discusses focusing on the youth's behavior and not him or her as a person. As someone who is interested in working with adolescents, I found this podcast informative and gave me a perspective on this subject I have not yet thought of. I found it very eyeopening and humbling.

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