Short research report: A brief report of the characteristics of adolescents with identified sexually abusive behaviours referred to a forensic child and youth mental health service

Tania Withington, James Ogilvie, Bruce D. Watt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The current study explored individual, family and environmental characteristics of adolescents exhibiting sexually abusive behaviours referred to a child and youth forensic mental health service in Queensland Client files were coded for mental health disorders, features of sexual behaviour and psychosocial circumstances. Results were comparable to international studies of the characteristics of adolescents who engage in sexually abusive behaviour,with a wide range of problems not specifically related to sex offending identified. Characteristics of the sample included high rates of removal from the family, physical and emotional abuse, learning and language difficulties,and social deficits. It was suggested that the sample might represent an early developmental stage in the pathway of sex offending, highlighting a unique opportunity to intervene and reduce the risk of both sexual and nonsexual recidivism. Longitudinal study of this population may assist to increase knowledge of factors influencing the development, prevention and treatment of sexually abusive behaviours in adolescents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-44
Number of pages5
JournalSexual Abuse in Australia and New Zealand: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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