Resources about young people who have sexually harmed others

In a wider context of a significant decrease in youth crime in the UK, figures for crimes of a sexual nature by those aged 10-17 have stayed fairly constant at around 2000 per year in England and Wales. This may be due to better reporting as child abuse by celebrities and movements such as #MeToo have raised awareness of the need to stand up against sexual abuse. Occasional radio and TV documentaries present the area of sexual harm by young people as something that should shock us, rather than encouraging a more realistic approach. Once we acknowledge that there is a spectrum of behaviour from criminal to experimental we can seek ways to work with young people to address unacceptable behaviour as well as their other needs using a more informed approach.


There has been relatively little statutory guidance regarding these young people, although research has increased over the last few decades. A NICE guideline has been published in September 2016:

The NSPCC have published a Framework and Audit tool for local areas considering how they work with these young people across the UK:

A key author and researcher in the area has been Prof Simon Hackett at Durham University. His 2014 research review was published by Research in Practice:–children-and-young-people-with-harmful-sexual-behaviours/

He also works with the Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse who more recently published this 2018 research linking harmful sexual behaviour and sexual exploitation:

Another review of provision for these young people was published by the NSPCC in 2013:

The above authors also contributed to a journal version about practice and policy in the UK, published in the Journal of Sexual Aggression in 2014:

My own PhD research looked into the benefits and implications of working holistically with these young people. You can download the full thesis here:

Shorter versions of my research in powerpoint and article form are available from my academia page:

The Youth Justice Board published a ‘Key Elements of Effective Practice’ document about harmful sexual behaviour in 2008. The source document by Grimshaw is available here: YJB Document hosted by Centre for Crime and Justice Studies

A key piece of Government guidance about effective work with young people who have sexually abused others was published by the Department of Health and the Home Office in 2006. While this is somewhat dated now, it has not been superseded and contains references to many other useful documents, so I link to it here for your reference: Archived document from Department of Health

Other key organisations who have developed research and practice tools in this area include
• The Lucy Faithfull Foundation

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