Professor Simon Hackett discusses the benefits of the harmful sexual behaviour framework, using evidence from pilot authorities
Sometimes children are sexually abused by other children or young people. Around a third of child sexual abuse happens in this way.
We need to help children who have sexually harmed others to understand and address their behaviour. But, with no national strategy for tackling harmful sexual behaviour (HSB), many children have limited access to support. There are no services in some areas: this doesn't serve the needs of victims or of justice.
I have a long history working in the field of HSB, as a practitioner in the '90s and then as an academic researcher, based at Durham University. My research tries to understand the problem of young people with HSB. I use my findings to inform, educate and influence policy and practice so when I was asked to contribute to the HSB framework, I saw a landmark opportunity.
Feedback we've already received from pilot programmes illustrates how the framework can help local areas respond to this issue.