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

Young people who had sexually abused other children said that helping them to manage pornography and improving their sexuality education could have helped prevent their abusive behaviour.

The findings represent the rarely-captured voices of young people who sexually abuse, in a policy briefing paper released today by the University of Melbourne.

Researchers asked 14 young people what could have been different in their lives so that they did not develop harmful sexual behaviour. They also asked six treatment-providing workers to reflect on the insights of the young people. Three main opportunities for prevention emerged, including taking action in the lives of young people to:

  • make their home and school relationships safe
  • reform their sexuality education
  • help their management of pornography

The study’s lead author Gemma McKibbin, PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne said that the findings made it clear that more needed to be done in sexual health policy for vulnerable groups of children, and to restrict young people’s access to pornography.

Read the full media release on The Melbourne Newsroom

To obtain a copy of the policy briefing paper email social-equity@unimelb.edu.au

Gemma McKibbin's PhD project, Sexually abusive behaviour by young people: Enhancing Victoria’s prevention agenda, is supervised by Professor Cathy Humphreys and Dr Bridget Hamilton. The project is supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award and by the Melbourne Social Equity Institute.

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Melbourne Social Equity Institute

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