Rapid evidence assessment: Current best evidence in the therapeutic treatment of children with problem or harmful sexual behaviours, and children who have sexually offended

Professor Aron Shlonsky, Bianca Albers, Dale Tolliday, Dr Sandra Jo Wilson, Jennifer Norvell and Lauren Kissinger

May 2017

ISBN 978-1-925622-15-7

Executive Summary

Sexually harmful behaviour is not limited to the sexual abuse of children by adults. It includes sexually problematic and harmful behaviour by other children. While the prevalence of sexually harmful behaviour by children is difficult to establish, emerging and ongoing research indicates that it is a significant problem that represents a substantial proportion of sexual harm to children. 

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse commissioned this evidence review to identify current best evidence about the effectiveness and content of programs and practices, in Australia and internationally, aimed at treating children with problem sexual behaviour (aged under 10), harmful sexual behaviour (aged 10–17), and children who have sexually offended (aged 10–17). 

This report details the systematic methods used to locate and synthesise the evidence, the results of this process, and their implications for practice and policy in Australia.