Some children and young people sexually harm others. Our Assessment Consultation Therapy (ACT) team works with children, young people and their families when there are concerns about a young person's sexually harmful behaviour. We also work with schools and other professionals.
Sexually harmful behaviour involves one or more children or young people engaging in sexual discussions or acts that are inappropriate for their age or stage of development. It can range from verbal abuse, using sexually inappropriate words or phrases, to contact behaviour. It also involves children or young people accessing or producing inappropriate images online.
Sometimes it is difficult to know when awakening sexual behaviours fall outside what is normal for a young person. The young person's age, physical and emotional development and intellectual maturity are all factors to consider. Our guide (PDF) helps explain the difference between healthy and unhealthy sexual behaviour in children and young people.
If you are a young person
If you are a young person who has got into problems because of your sexual behaviour, our ACT team can introduce you to an experienced therapist to talk to who won't be embarrassed or shocked by what you tell them. Usually you will meet up with them once a week and through talking about things we can help you feel better and develop healthy sexual behaviour. You can get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01483 517108.
If you are a parent
If you are a parent whose child has got into problems because of their sexual behaviour, it can be hard to believe and confusing. Talking with your child may be difficult. ACT can provide you with support through this period. Also if ACT provides therapy to your child, you will also be asked to attend, to meet with a different therapist to your child. You can email us at: email@example.com or call us on 01483 519606.
Parents often ask:
- Is my child a danger to others?
- What does it mean about my child's sexuality?
- Would it be best to put it behind us and move on?
- Will Surrey County Council's services for Children, Schools and Families directorate be involved?
Is my child a danger to others?
If your child or young person is showing sexually problematic or abusive behaviour they will need professional help, which ACT can provide. We will work with your child/young person to make sure they break any behaviour patterns early. You can also help by making sure they avoid potentially risky behaviour.
What does it mean about my child's sexuality?
Young people with sexually problematic or abusive behaviour are often very confused or uncertain about sexuality in general. Their relationships with men and women, boys and girls, their feelings about sex and their own wellbeing are all discussed in therapy to give them a clearer understanding of their sexuality.
Would it be best to put it behind us and move on?
Parents often have mixed feelings about therapy. At ACT we are very experienced in helping children and families explore the problems that have led up to the abuse happening. We can work out the most helpful therapeutic treatment programme. We would encourage you and your child to talk and meet us.
Will Surrey County Council's services for Children, Schools and Families be involved?
Yes. ACT will need a referral from Children's Services. You may be allocated a social worker, who will do an Initial Assessment to help think about what you and your family may need. They will then be involved in any consultation or professionals meetings held by ACT.
Contact our Services for Children, Schools and Families or the ACT team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01483 519606.
There are also other specialist organisations and publications that can provide help, information and advice.
Files available to download
- Whatishealthysexualityinchildren.pdf (47.9 KB)
Assessment Consultation Therapy - What is healthy sexuality in children? - guide to common and uncommon sexual behaviours in children