Sexually harmful behaviour
Sexually harmful behaviour is the term used to describe the behaviour of children or adolescents which is sexually inappropriate, or sexually abusive to other children, young people and adults.
Studies have shown that between 25-35% of all sexual abuse is perpetrated by young people between the age of 10 and 19. As many as a third of reported sexual offences against children are committed by minors.
There is not yet sufficient evidence to prove that those who display sexually harmful behaviour as adolescents continue to offend once they reach adulthood; however research suggests that 50% of adult sex offenders admit that abuse began in childhood or adolescence.
With the right intervention and support, risk levels can be significantly reduced. Therefore, it is highly important that any reports of sexually inappropriate or abusive behaviour committed by a child or young person should be taken seriously, and assessed and responded to in a prompt and appropriate manner.
Dealing with children who are sexually abusive to other children is a sensitive, challenging and emotional area and it is essential that the appropriate strategies are developed for effective therapy and care. It requires confident, knowledgeable practitioners to intervene in a way that reduces risk of reoffending and meets the needs of the young person.
Sexually harmful behaviour – Case study
Names have been changed to protect identities.
Ryan is 14 years old and lives in one of our care homes. He has some emotional and behavioural difficulties and on his arrival showed signs of sexually harmful behaviour.
Our staff here are supporting him and helping him to develop trusting relationships with those caring for him. Their efforts have not been in vain and his self esteem has already shown improvement.
Because of his shyness, Ryan is currently being home schooled and hopes to progress into full time education but only when he is ready.
Ryan has become a much loved member of our community here at the home and our support is slowly but surely turning his life around.