SEFTON LSCB Safeguarding Policies and Procedures Online Manual

    20.2 Children and Young People who Display Harmful Sexual Behaviour

    Last updated 12/11/2018













    Whenever a child or young person has been sexually harmed by another child or young person, all agencies must be aware of their responsibilities to both the victim and the young person who has carried out the sexually harmful behaviour. The multi-agency management of both cases must reflect this. Children and young people who harm others may pose a risk to children other than their present victim and the safety of their victim and other children is of paramount importance. However children and young people who behave in this way are likely to have considerable levels of unmet need themselves. Evidence suggests that children and young people who harm others may have suffered considerable disruption in their lives, been exposed to violence within the family, may have witnessed or been subject to Physical Abuse or Sexual Abuse, have problems in their educational development and may have committed other offences. Such children are likely to be children in need; some will have suffered Significant Harm and may be in need of protection themselves. Children who harm others should be held responsible for their harmful behaviour while being identified and responded to in a way which meets their needs as well as protecting others.





    Children and young people who display harmful sexual behaviour are often developing their own sexuality and understanding of relationships. Research clearly indicates that good assessment and early intervention, which addresses risk and builds resilience for the child or young person, produce the best outcomes for this kind of worrying behaviour.








    Considerable diversity exists among children and young people who have harmful sexual behaviours. This diversity applies to their own backgrounds and experiences, the motivations for and the meanings of their behaviours and needs. It is not inevitable or highly likely that young people with sexual harmful behaviours will go on to perpetrate Sexual Abuse in adulthood. A number of factors indicate a higher risk and for this reason it is preferable that appropriate assessments are carried out on young people to target resources at those most likely to present the highest risk. Cognitive behavioural interventions and relapse prevention work are effective alongside increasing resilience factors and reducing negative factors in a young person’s life.