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Australia's response to sexualised or sexually abusive behaviours in children and young people.

O'Brien, Wendy 2010, Australia's response to sexualised or sexually abusive behaviours in children and young people., Australian Crime Commission, Canberra, ACT.

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Title Australia's response to sexualised or sexually abusive behaviours in children and young people.
Author(s) O'Brien, Wendy
Publication date 2010
Total pages 116
Publisher Australian Crime Commission
Place of publication Canberra, ACT
Keyword(s) public policy
psychological services
childhood trauma
sexualised behaviours
sex offences
youth diversion
service provision
Summary

Responding to children and young people with sexualised or sexual offending behaviours presents significant challenges across the allied health, child protection, education and juvenile justice sectors. This report maps the specialised therapeutic services designed to effect positive behavioural change and thus divert young people with sexualised behaviours from the juvenile justice system. Accurate numbers on children with sexualised or sexual offending behaviours are difficult to determine. There are several factors contributing to this gap in understanding. These include entrenched ideals about children as inherently innocent, widespread ignorance about developmental sexuality, and the tendency of both young people and parents to deny or minimise incidents when they do occur.

In Australia, data on children with sexualised behaviours are not collected uniformly and nondisclosure contributes to what might be large numbers of offences going undetected. Mandatory reporting requirements apply where children display sexualised behaviours and are thought to be at risk of harm. Yet a general lack of knowledge as to what constitutes appropriate behaviour means that many may respond inappropriately to incidents of sexualised behaviours. This context of confusion, denial and non-disclosure creates a hidden population of children that continues to be at risk. Attention to redressing the contexts for non-disclosure is urgently required to ensure that children in need are provided with specialised therapeutic care.

This report presents qualitative data from interviews with specialised clinicians as well as submissions from service providers in both community and youth justice settings. In mapping the availability of therapeutic services, this report highlights a number of geographic and demographic gaps in service provision, including difficulties with eligibility criteria, referral pathways, funding arrangements and specialised workforce development. There are multiple challenges facing the tertiary services sector, yet the comprehensive provision of specialised services is just one part of the response required. This study emphasises the need for effective primary and secondary prevention to effect a reduction in the numbers of young people requiring counselling in the future. Consistent with the public health model, this report prioritises professional and community education strategies that would ultimately necessitate fewer tertiary services for young people and fewer places in juvenile detention centres.

ISBN 0646531484
9780646531489
Language eng
Field of Research 160702 Counselling, Welfare and Community Services
160202 Correctional Theory, Offender Treatment and Rehabilitation
160201 Causes and Prevention of Crime
Socio Economic Objective 940402 Crime Prevention
HERDC Research category A6.1 Research report/technical paper
Copyright notice ©2010, Australian Crime Commission
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30065114

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Created: Sun, 27 Jul 2014, 00:03:25 EST by Wendy O'brien

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.