Report

Literature review

Problem sexual behaviours and sexually abusive behaviours in Australian children and young people

15 Dec 2017
Description

Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin;color:#444444;background:white">This paper presents a review of available literature on problem sexual behaviours (PSBs) and sexually abusive behaviours (SABs) exhibited in Australian children and young people. It provides an overview of those behaviours and the conceptual frameworks that inform legal and therapeutic interventions. The paper draws attention to the complexities regarding definitional categories and gaps in research regarding the prevalence and nature of PSBs and SABs, and the lack of evaluations of therapeutic treatment programs, in the Australian context.

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mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin;color:#3F343B;
mso-fareast-language:EN-AU">Key messages:

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"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin;
color:#444444;mso-fareast-language:EN-AU">Sensitive definitions of PSBs and SABs that externalise the behaviour from the individual are important to guiding policy and practice. It can be harmful to categorise children and young people based on rigid or pathologising definitions regarding age-appropriate sexual behaviour.

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"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin;
color:#444444;mso-fareast-language:EN-AU">Australian studies find that 30-60% of all experiences of childhood sexual abuse are carried out by children and young people who exhibit PSBs and SABs; however, accurate statistics are difficult to obtain due to the hidden nature of abusive sexual experiences in childhood and adolescence. Other reasons for the lack of data may include ineffective reporting or referral pathways.

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"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin;
color:#444444;mso-fareast-language:EN-AU">Children and young people who demonstrate such behaviours are themselves in need of therapeutic support. Early therapeutic intervention strategies for children and young people who exhibit PSBs and SABs can maximise chances of rehabilitation.

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"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin;
color:#444444;mso-fareast-language:EN-AU">Treatment modalities must be flexible enough to meet the needs of diverse groups of children and young people. A combination of individual and family therapy, informed by an ecological approach, is found to effectively treat children and young people who display PSBs and SABs.

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"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin;
color:#444444;mso-fareast-language:EN-AU">There is inconclusive evidence about the extent to which causal or correlative risk factors for PSBs and SABs can be clearly identified. Clinicians in specialised services find while children with PSBs and SABs often present with complex and intersecting challenges in their lives, it is also the case that only a small number of children and young people with adverse childhood experiences will exhibit PSBs and SABs.
Publication Details
Identifiers: 
ISBN: 
978-1-76016-162-0 (PDF)
Series Title: 
CFCA Paper
Series Volume/No.: 
46
Language: 
License Type: 
CC BY
Published year only: 
2017

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