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Improving understanding and responses to harmful sexual behaviour in children and young people

Recent work by the Commissioner for Children and Young People aims to improve the understanding of and responses to children and young people with harmful sexual behaviours.

discussion paper released this week draws on extensive work undertaken by the Commissioner over the past 12 months, including mapping existing services for children and young people who have been harmed and/or who display harmful sexual behaviours in WA, an issues paper by the Australian Centre for Child Protection and a review of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse research reports, case studies, final report and recommendations relevant to harmful sexual behaviours.

Commissioner Colin Pettit said the safety and wellbeing of all children is of utmost importance.

“When sexual behaviours become concerning or harmful, they can be traumatic both for the children displaying the behaviours as well as any other children who are impacted by the behaviours,” Mr Pettit said.

“Children harmed by young people close to their own age are likely to experience ongoing effects comparable to those who are assaulted by adults, experiencing similar levels of anxiety and depression.

“It is important that responses are in place within communities and in organisations that provide early intervention, support and treatment that is appropriate to the behaviours displayed and experienced.”

To progress discussion on improving policy, prevention and responses to harmful sexual behaviours in Western Australia the Commissioner is hosting a seminar on 12 June 2018.

The seminar is an opportunity for leaders, policy makers and practitioners to hear from leading Australian experts in addressing harmful sexual behaviour in children and young people.