Young Sex Abusers Treatment Call

Services to help children who have committed sexual abuse are underdeveloped in Wales, the children’s charity NSPCC claims.

It is calling on the Welsh Assembly Government to improve services to those children and young people who display sexually harmful behaviour.

The charity claims 25% of sexual abuse is committed by children.

The assembly government said recommendations made by a task group over the issue were being implemented.

The charity plans to present a petition to Health Minister Edwina Hart asking her to improve services for these children and young people.

It is part of a wider campaign by the charity which is also writing to the UK government and the Northern Ireland Assembly about the matter.

The charity says children who sexually harm are more likely to have been abused themselves.

It says intervention with children and young people has been shown to be very effective at changing sexually harmful behaviour.

It wants a coordinated approach to how such children and young people are assessed and treated.

The assembly government has already set up a task group to look at the issue and make recommendations, but the charity wants it to ensure children who sexually harm have a standardised approach to assessment and treatment.

NSPCC Wales policy manager Simon Jones said: “We must address this aspect of sexual abuse with the Welsh Assembly Government, for more children to be protected against cruelty.

Task group

“The majority of children and young people who display sexually harmful behaviour have suffered, or are suffering abuse of some kind.

“They need advice, support and treatment. We cannot afford to let them fall by the wayside. We must address their behaviour.

“Without treatment, there is a real danger that children who display this type of behaviour could go on to offend in adulthood.

“It also leaves other children and young people vulnerable to sexual abuse.”

He said although the NSPCC and other agencies offered intervention and assessment services, it was a “lottery” about what type of treatment was offered.

In a statement, the assembly government said: “A Task and Finish Group was set up by the Welsh Assembly Government and included the NSPCC, Barnardo’s and the Children’s Commissioner to examine the issue of children showing harmful sexual behaviours.

“The group proposed 11 recommendations and this work will now be taken forward.”