CYCJ has contributed to a report calling for Scotland to pioneer a public health response to harmful sexual behaviour among children and young people.
‘The Expert Group on Preventing Sexual Offending Involving Children and Young People’ report was published in January 2020.
Responding to the report, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said lessons would be taken from Scotland’s approach to reducing violent crime. He also announced plans for a multi-agency group to oversee work around prevention and support for parents, carers and practitioners, such as teachers and social workers.
As secretariat to the Expert Group, CYCJ’s Deputy Director Fiona Dyer welcomes the publication of the report and the announcement that Scotland is developing a national strategy to tackle sexual offending by children and young people.
“The evidence shows that around a third of sexual offences against children are committed by children and that sexual offending by children is on the increase in Scotland. These statistics are concerning and coordinated support needs to be offered to already stretched services to address this behaviour, support those involved and provide appropriate assessments and interventions. I am confident that, if fully implemented, the recommendations of the expert group will start to address this issue to ensure our children and young people, families and professionals receive the help and support they need.”
The report also calls for more preventative activity tailored for boys and young men, given that the majority of adolescents displaying harmful sexual behaviour are male.
Other recommendations focus on:
- providing effective support for parents and carers to keep their children safe
- ensuring frontline practitioners are confident about how best to prevent harm
- reviewing the steps that can be taken to best achieve prevention rather
than intervention after the harm has occurred