This article considers the trajectory and effectiveness of policy, procedures and practice in the UK since the early 1990s in responding to young people who display problematic and harmful sexual behaviours. It draws on data from three publications in which research, policy and practice in the last 20 years have been reviewed. Key themes raised by Masson and Hackett are revisited including: denial and minimisation; terminology and categorisation; similarities with other young offenders; the child protection and youth justice systems; and assessment and interventions. The authors find that there is improvement in recognition of, and practice in response to, this group of young people, but good practice standards are inconsistently applied. With devolution of political powers, Scotland and Northern Ireland are now embarking on a more strategic response than England. The absence of a public debate and prioritising of primary prevention of child sexual abuse is noted.
- Children and young people
- Sexually problematic or harmful behaviours
- Policy: procedures and practice