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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Simon Hackett

Murphy, M., Ross, K. & Hackett, S. (2017). Sexually Harmful Behaviour in Young People. In Forensic Child and Adolescent Mental Health: Meeting the Needs of Young Offenders. Bailey, S., Tarbuck, P. & Chitsabesan, P. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 121-134.

Author(s) from Durham


The problem of children and young people who sexually
offend or harm others as a result of their sexual
behaviour has been the subject of international commentary
for over 50 years (Chaffin et al., 2002). Most
current knowledge has emerged since the mid-1980s
following the establishment in the US of a number of
early intervention programmes to address this issue.
It was not until the early 1990s with the publication of
the Report of the Committee of Enquiry into Children
and Young People Who Sexually Abuse Other Children
(NCH, 1992) that the existence of children and young
people with harmful sexual behaviours was brought
into the professional consciousness in the UK; progress
in the development of practice responses to this
issue since then has been steady. A range of specialist
assessment and intervention services has been established
in the voluntary, private and statutory sectors
across the UK, though there are areas where significant
gaps in service remain (Smith et al., 2013). Many
Local Safeguarding Children Boards or Child
Protection Committees across the four nations of
the UK now acknowledge the issue of young people
with harmful sexual behaviours in their interagency
procedures and policy documents. There is, however,
evidence to suggest that knowledge and awareness is
not evenly distributed amongst professionals more
generally (Criminal Justice Joint Inspection, 2013).