This is something we haven’t even begun to understand, because we don’t want to, but I’m not sure that’s a good idea.
Let’s face it: Even a quick scan of the media suggests that when abuse occurs, most people want to make the abuse just go away… along with the abuser. It can take a lot of work to realize the often-complex wishes and needs of those who have been abused; all too often, they are in the same family as the person who has caused harm.
The reality is, when a child is abused we all rush to wanting the abuser punished. And in some cases, that is proper. When the abuser is also a minor, however, it’s not quite that simple. A minor is very likely to get some form of punishment, but also to be released back into the general public, and probably even their family again, without any sort of treatment or help that would prevent them from abusing again. If we are truly interested in preventing abuse, we need to look at treatment options for minor abusers, may of whom are also victims. If we don’t get them help, we’re risking too many future victims.