Responding to children displaying problematic sexual behaviour
What is it?
As the South Australian Commissioner for Children and Young People, I want to understand what South Australia is doing in response to harmful or problematic sexual behaviour post the RCIRCSA.
Inadequate responses that the RCIRCSA identified included responses by individuals and institutions:
- Struggling to recognise when a child displays harmful sexual behaviour.
- Not understanding when any behaviour displayed by a child or children on another is ‘appropriate’ in relation to their development.
- Institutions not believing children and/or parents that their child has been abused.
- Not knowing how to respond to the behaviour.
- Not having any clear guidelines on how to respond to children displaying harmful sexual behaviour.
At a systemic level, the RCIRCSA highlighted the lack of appropriate primary, secondary and tertiary interventions to prevent the development of harmful sexual behaviour as well as appropriately responding, in a therapeutic way to address children’s harmful sexual behaviour. It recommended that there be timely assessments for individual children with problematic or harmful sexual behaviours, adequate funding for therapeutic interventions and clear referral pathways.
My inquiry will involve:
- undertaking an audit on South Australia’s current responses.
- reviewing the most up-to-date evidence on what is currently happening in South Australia
- reviewing successful therapeutic programs
- talking to stakeholders about what South Australia needs to do to address gaps in services, as well as appropriately respond to incidents of harmful sexual behaviours.