When a child acts out sexually, we want to look at the entire picture. We consider sexual development, abuse and trauma history, body knowledge, religious beliefs and adult responses to the behavior.
We encourage agencies and families to focus on helping a child engaging in sexual activity inconsistent with their stage of development. For children 12 and under, we utilize a child sexual behavior inventory to assist in that process.
We are often contacted about psychosexual evaluations for children and for children under 12, we discourage this as a direction of treatment. Psychosexual evaluations are a forensic evaluation and we encouraging a diagnostic and intervention approach to services in these cases as opposed to a punitive one. Assessments of youth behavior focus on both individual risk factors and risk factors that reside and operate in the youth’s social and physical environment. Problematic behavior must be understood as contextual. In this respect, risk for continued sexually problematic behavior should be considered in the context of environments that provide low supervision, access to potential victims and overwhelming emotional demands or stress. Risk is contextual; it is a function of the individual and the individual in his or her environment (Massachusetts Adolescent Sex Offender Coalition, 2015).
We provide services for juveniles who have sexual behavior problems or who have committed a sexual offense. When we work with juvenile clients, we also work closely with the juvenile’s family. We provide services and determine interventions from a developmental perspective – when talking with juveniles about sexuality we provide educational components, empower parents to have conversations with the child about sex, and focus on age appropriate healthy sexuality. For children under 12, we encourage and assist parents in finding play therapists who are skilled at sexual trauma with children.
Services we provide:
- Juveniles who have committed sexual offenses
- Adolescent psychosexual assessments
- Evaluation of risk and protective factors – PROFESOR
- Juveniles coming out of placements
- Therapeutic services for juveniles who have demonstrated poor boundaries but may not have been charged with a sexual offense
- Individualized treatment planning
- Sexual identity/gender identity
One of our favorite resources when talking about gender is www.itspronouncedmetrosexual.com – “Gender is one of those things everyone thinks they understand, but don’t. This tasty little guide is meant to be an appetizer for understanding. It’s okay if you’re hungry for more.”
We also provide a workshop for juvenile offenders that covers the following topics: Respect, Equality, Safety, Trust, Consent, Body Knowledge and Pornography and Internet Safety. The next date is December 21.
Resources for Parents:
Internet Behavior – learn more about how to help kids stay safe online