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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Simon Hackett

Balfe, M., Hackett, S., Masson, H. & Phillips, J. (2019). Experiences of young people with harmful sexual behaviors in services: a qualitative study. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse 28(6): 649-666

Author(s) from Durham


Young people are responsible for a significant number of the sexual offenses that are committed every year. These young people are generally referred to specialist services for treatment. This article explores the health characteristics and service experiences of 117 young people with sexual behavior problems, and the issues that services face when working with them. The study is based on analysis of 117 case files, identified from nine specialist services in the UK. The case files were thematically analyzed. Case files provided information on the following topics: the reasons why the young people were referred to harmful sexual behavior services; the young people’s personal characteristics; their medical and mental health problems; the young people’s interests and aspirations; their attitudes toward services and interventions; continued problematic sexual incidents in services; progress in services; and post-service experiences. Overall, the findings of the study indicate that these young people have a number of strengths, but often have problems across a range of personal and health domains. A number of them continue to remain sexually and generally violent in services, particularly in residential settings, which has risk management implications for staff.