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Responses to children and young people with problematic and harmful sexual behaviours

Responsible government

  • New South Wales

Fourth Action Plan actions

  • Primary prevention is key
    • 2 Improve coordination across primary prevention activities to maximise their impact on community attitudes and behaviours that lead to violence.
  • Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children
    • 7 Build the workforce capability to ensure delivery of high quality, holistic, trauma-informed and culturally safe supports that respond to the complex needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children.
  • Respond to sexual violence and sexual harassment
    • 14 Deliver client-centred, trauma-informed, specialised and consistent support to victims and survivors of sexual violence.

What are we doing?

The NSW Government has allocated $37.7 million over five years from 2018-19 to improve the prevention of and responses to children and young people with problematic or harmful sexual behaviours. The NSW Government is developing a Framework, based on a public health approach, that will promote prevention activities. The approach will support families, communities and professionals to identify the problematic or harmful behaviours and respond early to ensure supports are in place.

The NSW Government has allocated $19 million of the new funding to improve access to specialist treatment services for children and their families who need it. The NSW Health New Street Service Network is being expanded to achieve state-wide service coverage. New Street is an evidence-based specialist service for children and young people aged 10 to 17 years who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviours.

There will be nine full New Street Services plus two smaller ‘spoke services’ receiving clinical support from a neighbouring ‘hub service’. The expanded service network will provide coverage state-wide. New accommodation is being secured and recruitment of clinicians is under way. All services across NSW will be operational by June 2021.

NSW Health is developing a new program model to improve service access for children under the age of 10 years with problematic and harmful sexual behaviours and their families. The model will improve pathways into NSW Health specialist services and provide capacity building for generalist services within and outside of NSW Health, to better identify concerning behaviours and provide appropriate responses to these children.

What have we achieved so far?

A Children and Young People’s Sexual Safety Team in NSW Health has been established to lead NSW Health’s initiatives and the development of the NSW Government Framework for preventing and responding to children and young people with problematic and harmful sexual behaviours. The Framework will support the implementation of a child and family-centred system response to this cohort, based on a public health approach.

An Evaluation Strategy for the NSW Government Framework for prevention and responses to children and young people with problematic and harmful sexual behaviours has been commissioned and will be developed in 2019–20. This will ensure system improvements and initiatives are achieving the desired outcomes for children and young people. It will also include an evaluation plan for NSW Health therapeutic services responding to this group of children and young people.

What is next?

The expansion of New Street Service Network to achieve state-wide service coverage has commenced. There will be nine New Street Services plus two smaller “spoke services” and a range of outreach sites. All services across NSW will be operational by June 2021.

What difference will we make?

These initiatives respond to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse about children and young people with problematic and harmful sexual behaviours.

Progress on these initiatives is measured and reported on through the NSW Government response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, please see public annual reports.

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