An analysis of the psychosocial backgrounds of Youths (13-18) Who-Pose-Sexual-Risk to children
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Journal: Journal of Social Work
© 2016, © The Author(s) 2016. Summary: Social workers had expressed concern to their Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) about male Youths (13–18)-Who-Pose-Sexual-Risk (YWPSR) to children, leading to this study of 36 social-history protocols, completed by the youths’ social workers, that identified the presence of research-based factors of YWPSR who then go on to become adult child sex offenders. To ensure total confidentiality, no actual case-record data were available to the authors, ensuring the LSCB, social workers and their clients remain totally anonymous. While a small sample poses methodological difficulties, the authors believe the data is worthy of consideration as a pilot study for a larger project that might highlight the potential areas for early intervention. Findings: Key findings were: 29 (80%) of 36 YWPSR were <14 when first showing inappropriate sexual behaviour, whilst 25% were known to have been sexually abused themselves, mostly <11 years and 47% were either currently or had been, Looked-After-Children, with 42% having been Excluded-from-School of who 36% had learning difficulties. Their level of disturbance is shown by 11% having made a suicide attempt and they being formally charges for sex offences against children, which was significantly higher than that found in the adult general population. Finally 66% suffered from low self-esteem, were socially isolated and had poor peer relationships; reflected in the high level of problems at school. Application: Such young people pose a challenge for all concerned and an evidence-based debate is required to explore how to prevent further unacceptable behaviour and thereby protect vulnerable children.