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Children with Problem Sexual Behaviours and Their Families

Full Article Name: Children With Problem Sexual Behaviours and Their Families: Best Interests Case Practice Model -Specialist Practice Resource

Open Access: Yes


Examples of problem sexual behaviors for children under 10 years old are excessive self-stimulation, sexual approaches to adults, obsessive interest in pornography, and sexual overtures to other children that exceed accepted developmental bounds. For some children, these sexualized behaviors are coercive and may involve force. The grounds for statutory intervention when a child needs protection in Victoria are specified in the Children, Youth, and Families Act of 2005. One section applies to children under 10 years old with PSB. The role of the caseworker is to determine whether family services or child protection services are warranted, as well as to identify appropriate therapeutic services when required. This resource guide intends to prepare child protection workers to support the child and family while interpreting and managing interventions for the problem. This guide outlines the circumstances under which a family intervention would be needed. The guidance provided case workers first addresses how to determine whether or not the particular sexual behavior of concern is age appropriate, with a focus on criteria specified by researchers and clinicians in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia. Tables are provided to use in deciding whether or not a particular behavior rises to the level of a PSB. Case examples are also provided. Among the topics addressed are the causes of PSB, the dynamics of sexual abuse and patterns of disclosure, and the identification of factors underlying the PSB. The model practice tool provides detailed guidance in information gathering, analysis and planning, action, and a review of outcomes. 66 references, other relevant resources, and appended problem sexual behavior and sexually abusive behavior treatment service agencies in Victoria.


Evertsz, J., & Miller, R. (2012). Children with problem sexual behaviours and their families: Best interests case practice model – specialist practice resource. Health Deptartment of Victoria.

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