"I knew it was wrong but I couldn't stop it": young people identify three opportunities for preventing sexually abusive behaviour

Seminar Room 102
Alan Gilbert Building
(Corner of Barry & Grattan Streets)
The University of Melbourne Parkville VIC 3010

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This presentation will report the findings of Gemma McKibbin's PhD thesis entitled "I knew it was wrong but I couldn't stop it": young people talk about the prevention of sexually abusive behaviour, supervised by Prof Cathy Humphreys and Dr Bridget Hamilton.

The study aimed to draw upon the insights of young people who had been sexually abusive in order to enhance the sexually abusive behaviour prevention agenda. It involved semi-structured interviews with 14 young people who had completed a sexually abusive behaviour treatment program, as well as six treatment-providing workers. The qualitative data was analysed using Constructivist Grounded Theory. 

Young people identified three major opportunities for preventing sexually abusive behaviour. Suggestions about how these opportunities could inform an enhanced prevention agenda were discussed and recommendations for future research and practice made. The research was carried out in partnership with the Children’s Protection Society and supported by a Strategic Australian Postgraduate Award provided by the Melbourne Social Equity Institute.

The seminar will also provide an opportunity to launch a policy briefing paper about the research findings.

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Gemma McKibbin is a PhD candidate in the Department of Social Work at the University of Melbourne. She has a background in gender studies and has worked previously at the Women’s Information and Referral Exchange delivering information, referral and support services to women within a feminist framework. Her current research involves collaborating with community organisations in order to enhance the prevention agenda relating to sexually abusive behaviour and sexual exploitation of children and young people. Gemma’s research is motivated by a strong commitment to protecting the right of all women and children to live free from gender-based violence and sexual abuse.