Harmful Sexual Behaviour Info

Books on Harmful Sexual Behaviour

There are so many good books on this subject, I’ve restricted myself to those that I’ve read and use to inform my work, and that are very specific to this field, as opposed to books about related issues. I’ve included my view of each one to help you choose. Enjoy!

*** NEW *** Children as 'Risk' - Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by Children and Young People - Anne-Marie McAlinden

‘This book critically examines sociopolitical constructions of risk related to sexual offending behaviour by and among children and young people and charts the rise of harmful sexual or exploitative behaviour among peers, drawing on a range of theoretical frameworks and primary research.

‘The book examines the complexities of peer-based sexual behaviours in a range of settings, including within organisational contexts such as schools and care homes, within families and peer-based relationships, as well as online contexts, including sexting and cyberbullying.’ (From the blurb)

I’m itching to get stuck into this.

Obviously haven’t done a review yet, but I’ll write more when I’m done! In the meantime, Get it here.

Working with Children and Young People Who Have Displayed Harmful Sexual Behaviour - Stuart Allardyce & Peter Yates

This is the latest volume on this subject and, if you’re choosing only one to read, should probably be the one you buy.

I know Stuart and can vouch for his vast experience in this field, his commitment to children’s rights (a strong message in this book), a rigorous intellect and the fact that he’s from the U.K. (Scotland specifically) all sit behind this great read.

This is the definitive summary textbook on the subject at the moment – one you definitely want to read, especially if you’re working in the field as a specialist or have children with HSB that you’re responsibly for! Get it here.

Risk Assessment of Youth Who Have sexually Abused: Theory, Controversy and Emerging strategies - David Prescott

Jonny’s view: This is a must read work on assessment. Belying it’s name, it is a persuasive polemic on why “risk” is only one of the things we need to examine before we embark on treatment.

There is a refreshing emphasis on strengths and resilience, as well as discussion about actuarial assessment and dynamic risk. There is also a useful example of an assessment report.

This is a North American book, so Brits and others will need to allow for this, for example there’s a chapter on civil commitment and some differences in terminology, but these are minor issues. A book well worth having. Get it here.

Juvenile Sexual Offenders: A Comprehensive Guide to Risk Evaluation - Phil Rich
Jonny’s view: Everything you need to know about juvenile harmful sexual behaviour assessment, all in one place.

Definitely one for the shelf, particularly if you are working in the field. Chapters cover topics such as: heterogeniety; protective factors; distinguishing abuse from non-abusive sexual behaviour; HSB in younger children (pre-adolescents); risk instruments; conducting the assessment interviews and writing the report.

This is a truly excellent reference work as well as a handbook for practice. Get it here.

The Good Lives Model for Adolescents Who Sexually Harm - Bobbie Print (Ed.)
Jonny’s view: This is not a book on assessment, per se, though it includes a chapter on it. Essentially this book outlines the G-map adaption and application of the Good Lives Model with adolescents who sexually harm – exactly what it says “on the tin.”

Other than a summary of the G-map journey with the model, chapters address: good lives plans; therapeutic practice and motivating and engaging young people. As you’d expect from G-map, this is a well thought through book by well-respected authors and is refreshingly practical.

Should be on the shelf of anyone whose practice is committed to strengths based, motivational approaches. Get it here.

Attachment and Sexual Offending: Understanding and Applying Attachment Theory to the Treatment of Juvenile Sexual Offenders - Phil Rich

Jonny’s view: This is a real corker! Phil has a way of being so thorough it almost makes your eyes bleed!  :0)

This book was ahead of its time, in that it emphasises the importance of attachment theory as it informs harmful sexual behaviour in teenagers. As such, what is now increasingly accepted-that adverse childhood experiences impact on later behaviour and have real explanatory power when it comes to problem behaviour generally, and offending specifically-is beautifully laid out in this book.

In my view, there are few things more helpful in giving insight into the source of problematic behaviour, than attachment theory. As such, the right treatment of children and young people with harmful sexual behaviour can only be truly understood and properly treated with at least one eye on attachment. Phil takes the theory and tells us how to mould assessment and treatment accordingly. Get it here.

Ricky has a Problem - Bill Vail
Ricky Has A Problem – a booklet about a young teenage boy with a sexualised touching problem.

Useful for kids in denial or who find it too difficult to discuss their own behaviour. Way too expensive for 32 pages, but is very useful!

Best suited to incest behaviour for specific treatment discussions, but good for a general approach to the subject. Get it here.

Web reading on Harmful Sexual Behaviour

There’s some stuff well worth reading that’s available free online – here are a few to start you off…

The ATSA blog
The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers is an affiliate organisation for those working to treat and prevent sexual abuse.

This is their blog – really useful for keeping up with current thinking in the field. Read it here.

Juvenile Sex Offenders.com (Awful title!)

A site set up by Tom Cleeremen as an online repository of information, resources and links.

Included on the JSO.com website is a FREE to download group work programme for adolescents with harmful sexual behaviour – here’s the link (You’ll need to sign up and get an account to access this – it’s free though).

Visit the site here.

Key messages from research on children and young people who display HSB

The Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse has published it’s “Key Messages’ paper on children and young people displaying HSB.

It’s a succinct and useful, zoomed out summary of the state of play on HSB in young people – a good first stop for someone with an interest in knowing more.

Download it – here.

See other publications from the Centre – here.

Other essential reading

This is stuff that may be of more interest to those setting up or commissioning services that respond to HSB…

The NICE Guideline
In September 2016 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence published their guideline for ‘Harmful sexual Behaviour Among Children and Young People.’

This guideline covers children and young people who display harmful sexual behaviour, including those on remand or serving community or custodial sentences. It aims to ensure these problems don’t escalate and possibly lead to them being charged with a sexual offence. It also aims to ensure no-one is unnecessarily referred to specialist services.

Get more info on the Guideline homepage or download it – here.

NICE Guideline interactive flowchart
NICE have also produced an interactive flowchart that links aspects of the guideline to more detailed information.

See the interactive flowchart – here.

Harmful Sexual Behaviour Framework
The NSPCC, RiP and Durham University have published ‘an evidence-informed operational framework for children and young people displaying harmful sexual behaviours.’

The Framework ‘provides an evidence-informed tool for developing coordinated, multi-agency local responses to children and young people’s harmful sexual behaviour.’ It covers: responses, prevention, assessments, interventions and development. Each section covers the relevant evidence/issues, provides an audit tool and key principles, including practice examples.

Download the framework – here.

Video on consent

This is one of the best ways I’ve seen of communicating consent to teenagers. A simple cartoon line drawing that likens consent to making someone a cup of tea…   Click the window below or see it on YouTube – here.

Short video about sexual consent

DVD & direct work resources

Click each of windows to access each resource…

"Offside" DVD & workbook from Barnardo's
The aim of the resource is to educate young people about appropriate teenage relationships and seek to challenge adversarial sexual beliefs that can be associated with concerning or harmful sexual behaviour in young people.

The DVD comprises a 15 minute drama depicting positive and negative examples of young people’s behaviour in pursuit of relationships. The associated workbook contains individual and group exercises and discussions on themes raised in the DVD.  As such, the resource can be used in individual or group settings.  Via such exercises and discussions, young people are encouraged to examine issues relating to the formation of positive and healthy relationships and how age/power differences can affect relationships.

In addition, young people are asked to explore consent in relationships, issues of discrimination and sexuality.  Victim impact issues associated with harmful sexual behaviour and the consequences for others involved are also highlighted. (Information quoted verbatim from the Barnardo’s website)

Produced by Barnardo’s Cymru Taith Service. More details and order form available here.

"Your Choice" DVD & workbook from Barnardo's
The DVD tells the story of Matt and Aiden who assault Ellie and focuses on consequences, motivation to address offending, sexual attitudes and relapse prevention.  The powerful depiction of the impact on Ellie introduces the area of victim empathy.

The comprehensive workbook provides session outlines and varied exercises and worksheets, suitable for individuals and groups.  ‘Your Choice’ will be of particular assistance to those working with young men who deny or minimise their behaviour and is suitable for boys of 12 years and above.  The workbook is available in Welsh or English.The DVD is available in English only. (Information quoted verbatim from the Barnardo’s website)

Produced by Barnardo’s Cymru Taith Service. More details and order form available here.

HSB worksheets & resources

These worksheets are ones I put together for my own work with young people. Feel free to download and use them if you think they’ll be useful to you and the kids you’re working with.

Worksheets for download (free!)
Just click on the title of the sheet to download it…

  1. Anger diary – a sheet for recording episodes of angry feelings, the causes, responses and consequences
  2. Consent – a few short scenarios exploring consent and legalities of sexual behaviour, for use in assessment or training
  3. Consequences – some basic questions to help explore the consequences of sexual offending on self, victims and families
  4. Cottaging – simply stated reasons not to go looking for sex in public toilets (originally written for a boy with a learning disability)
  5. Denial – example reasons for denial of behaviour – to ease discussion and help children move out from denial to engagement
  6. Excuses – easy to use excuses for offending, to save children articulating them. Option to go on and explore truthful alternatives
  7. Excuses 1 – a sheet exploring what an excuse is, when people might use them; can be a gentle start to work on denial
  8. Excuses 2 – scenario cards to use for discussing what excuses might be used in such situations (non-offending)
  9. Excuses 3 – helps children to communicate the reasons for their behaviour
  10. Excuses – internet – a version of the “Excuses” worksheet, specific to internet-based sexual offending behaviour
  11. Faces photos – can be laminated and cut into cards to help discuss how emotions show in people’s faces
  12. Faces cartoons – as above but using cartoon faces
  13. Feelings – one hundred feelings words to be cut in cards; extremely useful and versatile tool for direct work (one of my favourites!)
  14. Fantasy crib card – simple rules reminder for appropriate sexual thoughts
  15. Gains & losses – a balance diagram for discussing the positives and negatives of re-offending
  16. Girls do want – sheet to list ideas about what girls DO want when choosing a boyfriend
  17. Girls don’t want – sheet to list ideas about the things girls DON’T want when choosing a boyfriend
  18. Glass – half full or half empty; to illustrate that one thing can be thought of in different ways (cognitive re-framing…)
  19. Head bubble – to help discussion about sexual thoughts and masturbation
  20. Head bubble 2 – to help in the discussion about thoughts of any kind
  21. Iceberg – to aid discussion about the interconnectedness of thoughts, feelings and behaviour
  22. Ingredients of offending – for examining the things that caused or led up to an offence
  23. Ingredients (1) – …of appropriate sexual thoughts and consent, a guide for young people
  24. Ingredients (2) – …of “OK” and “not OK” sexual thoughts – preliminary discussion which can rounded off using the ingredients (1) sheet
  25. Lifeline – three worksheets for mapping the young person’s relationships
  26. Masks – cut out cards to use to help young people identify the “fronts” they put on, or how they perceive themselves or others
  27. Miracle day – the classic exercise in exploring what life would be life if we could change anything except ourselves
  28. Miracle me – the classic exercise in exploring what it would be like if we could change anything about ourselves
  29. Thoughts, feelings & behaviour – a sheet to begin defining and discussing examples of each (can be used with the iceberg sheet)
  30. Thoughts, feelings & behaviour – triggers – looking at cognitive and affective antecedents to offending behaviours via an example
  31. Values cards – almost a hundred values cards – can be used to put into priority piles (important, not important etc.) or applied to issues
  32. Victim empathy – short module plan for a few sessions addressing victim empathy, using some of the resources on this page
  33. Words about me – a sheet to help discussion about the negative things people say about sex offenders, to be balanced by positives
  34. Words about me 2 – a sheet for general discussion of strengths and weaknesses, positives and negatives about the young person
HSB practitioner's toolkit
This toolkit is by the Children’s Society, Victim Support and the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

It contains some information and tons of links to resources, services and useful websites.

Download the toolkit – here.

Resources for younger children

A number of free and ‘for sale’ resources for HSB work with younger children

A Guide for parents & professionals
This is a free, open-access resource written by Dr Toni Cavanagh Johnson – a guide for parents and professionals working with children. In my view, anything by this author is well worth a read.
Understanding the sexual behaviours of younger children
Here is a reproduced version of some of Dr Johnson’s work, published by Prince Edward’s Island in Canada – again, it’s a free download: Children’s Sexual Behaviour – A Parents’ Guide.
Sex ed cards & more - from Big Talk Education

Photo ©BigTalkEducation

The set of 23 cards include topics such as: inappropriate touching, inappropriate language, unlawful behaviour (such as urinating in public or exposing the genitals) exposure to inappropriate images/TV/films, being photographed inappropriately.

Good for use with the younger ones, but also with those who have learning disabilities.

The pictures are A4 size, printed on card and come in a presentation folder. Guidance notes are included.  Cost £19.99 (at time of publishing).

TONS MORE RESOURCES HERE – BigTalk Education here.

Brook Traffic Light Tool
Lists sexual behaviour by age group (0-5; 5-9; 9-13; 13-17) and rates them green, amber or red depending on how “normal” the behaviour is for that age of child. Good quick reference guide. The website also provides guidance on the use of the tool.

The tool uses a traffic light system to categorise the sexual behaviours of young people and  is designed to help professionals:

  • Make decisions about safeguarding children and young people
  • Assess and respond appropriately to sexual behaviour in children and young people
  • Understand healthy sexual development and distinguish it from harmful behaviour

By categorising sexual behaviours as green, amber or red, professionals across different  agencies can work to the same standardised criteria when making decisions and can protect children and young people with a unified approach.

Professionals who work with children and young people have told us they often struggle to  identify which sexual behaviours are potentially harmful and which represent healthy sexual development. This is why it is vital that professionals agree on how behaviours should be categorised regardless of culture, faith, beliefs, and their own experiences or values.

Visit the Brook TLT website – here

NOTA & ATSA & ANZATSA (you need this if you’re working in HSB)

Theses are professional affiliates organisations that do brilliant work in supporting colleagues and organisations, and in facilitating training and conferences in the field of sexual abuse work.

NOTA - UK & Ireland
NOTA stands for the National Organisation for the Treatment of Abusers. It does the following:


• Provide a support network for professionals involved in work with sex offenders through the national organisation and local branch meetings
• Publish a regular newsletter NOTANews publishing articles, information, news and book reviews
• Publish a tri-annual Journal of Sexual Aggression jointly with Publishers, Taylor and Francis
•  Develop and extend professional knowledge of sexual aggression, assessment and treatment techniques and policy development. Initiate, conduct and disseminate research  conducted by the members and others
• Contribute to practice and policy development, nationally and regionally, through drafting and publishing guidance
• Promote quality national and regional training events
•  Publish briefing and occasional papers on Policy and Practice

Visit the NOTA website – here

ATSA - USA & Canada
ATSA stands for the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. Here’s the blurb…

The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers is an international, multi-disciplinary organization dedicated to making society safer by preventing sexual abuse. ATSA promotes sound research, effective evidence-based practice, informed public policy, and collaborative community strategies that lead to the effective assessment, treatment, and management of individuals who have sexually abused or are at risk to abuse.

ATSA’s members include treatment providers, researchers and educators, victims’ rights advocates, law enforcement and court officials, and representatives of many other stakeholder groups. The core values that guide ATSA are professional excellence, community safety, collaboration, and advocacy. ATSA promotes the philosophy that empirically based assessment, practice, management, and policies enhance community safety, reduce sexual recidivism, protect victims and vulnerable populations, transform the lives of those caught in the web of sexual violence, and illuminate paths to prevent sexual abuse.

Check out the ATSA blog – here. Visit the ATSA website – here

ANZATSA - Australia & New Zealand
ANZATSA stands for the Australia & New Zealand Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abuse. Here’s the blurb…


  • The Australian and New Zealand Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abuse is dedicated to community protection and safety through the promotion of professional standards, practices, and education in sexual abuse prevention, assessment, intervention and research. ANZATSA is committed to community protection and safety. When considering case management or intervention we hold the interest and safety of victims and potential victims, as always the priority.
  • ANZATSA recognises that the diverse indigenous cultures and people of Australia and New Zealand occupy a special place as the original cultures and people of both countries. Our members carry out their work in ways appropriate to and respectful of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia and Torres Strait Islands and the Maori peoples of Aotearoa (New Zealand). This includes consulting with, working alongside, and sharing resources with Indigenous peoples.
  • ANZATSA members do not discriminate against clients with regard to race, religion, gender identity, sexual preference or disability. Instead, our members seek to perform professional duties with the highest level of integrity, maintaining confidentiality within the scope of statutory responsibilities.
  • ANZATSA has approximately 200 members across Australia and New Zealand who work for government departments, NGO’s, or in private practice. Members work within the disciplines of psychology, psychiatry, social work, child protection, abuse prevention, child education, community education, and professional education.
  • ANZATSA promotes collegial networks, knowledge sharing, and advancing work in the prevention of sexual abuse. ANZATSA offers regular professional development events for members and colleagues, including seminars, workshops, and a biennial conference.

Visit the ANZATSA website – here

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