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Sexually harmful behaviour in young people.

Murphy, M. and Ross, K. and Hackett, S. (2017) 'Sexually harmful behaviour in young people.', in Forensic child and adolescent mental health : meeting the needs of young offenders. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, pp. 121-134.


The problem of children and young people who sexually offend or harm others as a result of their sexual behaviour has been the subject of international commentary for over 50 years (Chaffin et al., 2002). Most current knowledge has emerged since the mid-1980s following the establishment in the US of a number of early intervention programmes to address this issue. It was not until the early 1990s with the publication of the Report of the Committee of Enquiry into Children and Young People Who Sexually Abuse Other Children (NCH, 1992) that the existence of children and young people with harmful sexual behaviours was brought into the professional consciousness in the UK; progress in the development of practice responses to this issue since then has been steady. A range of specialist assessment and intervention services has been established in the voluntary, private and statutory sectors across the UK, though there are areas where significant gaps in service remain (Smith et al., 2013). Many Local Safeguarding Children Boards or Child Protection Committees across the four nations of the UK now acknowledge the issue of young people with harmful sexual behaviours in their interagency procedures and policy documents. There is, however, evidence to suggest that knowledge and awareness is not evenly distributed amongst professionals more generally (Criminal Justice Joint Inspection, 2013).

Item Type:Book chapter
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Date of first online publication:24 April 2017
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