Adolescents with sexually abusive behaviours and their families

This booklet written by the Victorian Government's Specialists Practice Resources is a best interests case practice model. It provides you with a foundation for working with adolescents and their families. It provides guidance on:

  • Information gathering
  • Analysis and planning
  • Action
  • Reviewing outcomes in cases where specific problems exist, or with particular developmental stages.
A child has exhibited sexually abusive behaviours when they have used their power, authority or status to engage another party in sexual activity that is either unwanted or where, due to the nature of the situation, the other party is not capable of giving consent (for example: animals, younger children, or other children who have a cognitive impairment). Physical force or threats are sometimes involved.

This resource consists of two parts:

  • An overview of issues for young people with sexually abusive behaviours.
  • A practice tool to guide you when working with these young people.



  • What is sexually abusive behaviour?
  • Sexually abusive behaviours and the "Children, Youth and Families Act"
  • Why a resource on young people with sexually abusive behaviours is important
  • Adolescent sexual behaviour: Normative through to abusive
    • Equality
    • Coercion
  • Why adolescents sexually abuse
  • Who is most likely to be victimised?
  • Developmental models of understanding – young people who sexually abuse are not mini paedophiles
  • Youth versus adults: Recidivism
  • Trauma, attachment and brain development
  • Therapeutic treatment orders and criminal charges
  • What happens at the end of the therapeutic treatment order?
  • Remain mindful of the victim’s needs
  • Therapeutic treatment orders and therapeutic interventions
  • Therapeutic Treatment Board
  • A note on electronic and internet pornography
  • Aboriginal young people with sexually abusive behaviours
  • Culturally and linguistically diverse young people and their families

Practice tool - Adolescents with sexually abusive behaviours and their families


Information gathering

  • Behaviour
  • Key areas to consider while information gathering
    • Family and social environment
    • Witnessing or being a victim of family violence – traumatic experiences
    • Other family factors
    • Social factors
    • Sexual abuse history
    • Criminal history
    • Mental illness
    • Intellectual disability
  • History of prior sexually abusive behaviours

Analysis and planning

  • Principles of intervention
    • Community safety
  • Placement decisions
    • Family involvement
  • School
    • Victim input
    • Involving professionals


  • Treatment
    • What does treatment aim to do?
    • Working in partnership
    • Success in treatment
  • Out-of-home care
  • The duration of treatment
    • Returning home

Reviewing outcomes

  • Other relevant resources
  • References
  • Appendix: Sexually abusive behaviours treatment service agencies in Victoria

Download the PDF [PDF 422KB] or simply view it below.


Last modified: Saturday, 7 September 2019, 8:20 PM