3rd Perth Symposium on Child Sexual Abuse Prevention
The 3rd Perth Symposium on Child Sexual Abuse Prevention focused on harmful sexual behaviours in children and adolescents. It outlined some issues and responses relating to children and young people with harmful sexual behaviours in Western Australia.
There are many influences on children and young people’s sexual behaviour. Age appropriate sexual behaviours can become disrupted in children and young people for several reasons. These include but are not limited to:
- Accidental/non-accidental exposure to sexually explicit material such as internet pornography, or other forms of pornography
- Exposure to adult sexual activity
- Physical abuse and emotional neglect (cumulative harm)
- Being exposed to domestic and family violence
- Re-enacting one’s own childhood abuse
- Loss of significant others. (South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence)
Sensitive definitions of problem sexual behaviours (PSBs) and sexually abusive behaviours (SABs) that externalise the behaviour from the individual are important to guiding policy and practice. It can be harmful to categorise children and young people based on rigid or pathologising definitions regarding age-appropriate sexual behaviour (AIFS 2017).