Guide The Sexual Exploitation of Children: A Practical Guide to Assessment, Investigation, and Intervention

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  1. Transnational Child Sexual Abuse: Outcomes from a Roundtable Discussion
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  4. Transnational Child Sexual Abuse: Outcomes from a Roundtable Discussion

The resource sheet provides information about: whether the abuse types constitute grounds for protection of a child under child protection law; and whether the abuse types are a crime under criminal law, with the possibility of punishment of the offender. For individuals working with children, it is important to be able to recognise child abuse and neglect when they come across it. For example, if a practitioner knows that, or has reason to believe that, a child is being hit or disciplined in a concerning way, the first question the practitioner must ask themselves — is this, or might this be, child abuse?

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If a practitioner believes or suspects child abuse or neglect, then a report must be made to child protection or the police for more detail, see Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect. Although young people under the age of 18 are legally children Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [AIHW], 1 , calling a young person a child can fail to acknowledge some important differences between children and young people, such as the difference in their desire and capacity for self-determination.

Definitions of child abuse and neglect can include adults, young people and older children as the perpetrators of the abuse. Furthermore, such behaviours may be intentional or unintentional and can include acts of omission i. Legal definitions tend to be broad, while medical definitions such as what is provided by WHO, usually provide a more detailed explanation. The way legislation defines child abuse and neglect matters. These laws have a direct influence on the outcomes of cases that are brought before a court.

Legal definitions affect the attitudes and decisions of lawyers and judges. There are two legal systems set up to respond to and prevent child abuse and neglect ALRC, ; Plum, :. Child protection proceedings focus on whether the child is in need of protection ALRC, ; Plum, They do not make a judgment about the guilt of an accused. For example, a child may have alleged sexual abuse by a parent. The criminal court may have judged an individual innocent of the crime of child sexual abuse but this does not mean that the civil child protection courts cannot make a ruling about the future safety of the child.

A child protection response is not, nor should it be, contingent on securing a conviction. ALRC, , p. Criminal proceedings focus on judging the guilt of the accused, with the outcome providing for the punishment of the offender.

Transnational Child Sexual Abuse: Outcomes from a Roundtable Discussion

Criminal proceedings generally focus on the past. An exception to this is the placement of a convicted child sex offender on a sex offender register, which is future focused and based on crimes the offender may commit in the future Plum, Different types of child abuse and neglect have different features. It is important to distinguish between what are commonly regarded as the five main subtypes of child abuse and neglect:.

The features of these subtypes are detailed below. Box 1 unpacks some of the difficulties and controversies around defining these five subtypes. Although there is a broad consensus on the five subtypes of child abuse and neglect see below , disagreement exists about exactly how to define and therefore recognise these subtypes. For example:. It is not possible to provide definite answers to any of these questions. By drawing from research, their experience, using empathy and listening well, practitioners must exercise good professional judgement as they work with each unique child in each unique context.

It is also important for human services, health, criminal justice and other professionals to make decisions collaboratively. For example, in the case of Indigenous children and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, it is important to involve specialist cultural advisers in planning and decision making. This includes hitting, beating, kicking, shaking, biting, strangling, scalding, burning, poisoning and suffocating. Much physical violence against children in the home is inflicted with the object of punishing. In all Australian jurisdictions, civil child protection legislation exists to protect children and young people from physical abuse.

As previously stated, this civil legislation does not focus on the innocence or guilt of the alleged perpetrator, instead it focuses on the safety — particularly the future safety — of the child. Jurisdictional criminal laws in Australia deal with severe cases of child physical abuse such as those resulting in permanent or fatal injury as offences of violence. The specific wording of these laws varies across jurisdictions ALRC, There is controversy about whether offences against children such as child physical abuse should be contained in civil child protection or criminal legislation.

For example, some submissions to the ALRC argued that child abuse offences should be located in the criminal law and that violence against a child should not be considered less serious than such acts against an adult. Alternatively, it was suggested that such offences should be located in civil child protection legislation, then decisions about whether to recommend criminal action could be managed by child welfare experts.

On the basis of the submissions received, the Commission made no specific recommendation for change. According to a popular conception by Garbarino and colleagues , p. However, the difficulties in doing this are well documented Broadley, ; Goddard, ; Sheehan, Given these challenges, it is particularly important for child protection and child welfare professionals to work collaboratively to support families to build protective factors and protect children from emotional abuse.

Neglect includes both isolated incidents, as well as a pattern of failure over time on the part of a parent or other family member to provide for the development and wellbeing of the child — where the parent is in a position to do so — in one or more of the following areas:. These cases can be difficult for child protection practitioners to take before the child protection court, particularly if the concerning parental behaviours are low impact and high frequency as opposed to high impact and low frequency. In these situations, there is a responsibility on the state to provide support and assistance to the parents; and the parents have a responsibility to engage with and utilise these supports CFCA, In many Australian jurisdictions it is a criminal offence for those with parental responsibility to fail to provide a child with basic needs such as accommodation, food, education and health care.

Across the jurisdictions, these laws are all drafted differently. For example, in the Northern Territory the offence relates to a child under two years.

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The involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, or for which the child is not developmentally prepared, or else that violates the laws or social taboos of society. Children can be sexually abused by both adults and other children who are — by virtue of their age or stage of development — in a position of responsibility, trust or power over the victim. Commonly the child will not have a parent who has or who is likely to protect them.

Various jurisdictions have civil child protection legislation that provides for specific types of sexual abuse. In this resource sheet these different types of child sexual abuse are presented as:. Criminal laws across Australia consider sexual abuse to be sexual activity between any adult and a child under the age of consent. Under civil child protection legislation, a child or young person is in need of protection from an extra-familial abuser if the parents or carers are unwilling or unable or are likely to be unwilling or unable to protect the child or young person from the sexual abuse.

Intra-familial child sexual abuse is considered to be the most prevalent type of child sexual abuse Quadara et al. Perpetrators within this context include fathers, mothers, step-fathers, step-mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. In most Australian jurisdictions, sexual activity in the context of biological, step-family and adoptive relationships are covered by incest provisions ALRC, In some jurisdictions, the incest offence applies regardless of age.

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In other jurisdictions, general child sexual abuse offences are applicable to children and the incest offence relates to situations where the victim is over the age of 16 years ALRC, Under child protection legislation, a child or young person needs protection from an intra-familial abuser if there is no parent or carer who is or who is likely to be willing and able to protect the child or young person from the sexual abuse.

Child sexual abuse occurs when there is any sexual behaviour between a child and an adult in a position of power or authority over them e. Under child protection legislation a child or young person needs protection if the parents or carers are not able, or are unlikely to be willing, to protect the child or young person from the sexual abuse. The general age of consent laws are inapplicable in these cases due to the strong imbalance of power that exists between children and young people and authority figures, as well as the breach of personal and public trust that occurs when professional boundaries are violated.

The terminology used to describe child sexual abuse that is perpetrated by children and young people is changeable El-Murr, It is important not to demonise the children and young people engaging in the abusive behaviour by calling them perpetrators or sex offenders El-Murr, ; Fernandez, These children and young people are still developing and growing. Labelling them may shame them and may deter them and their families from engaging with treatment and support Fernandez, However, it is important not to deny or minimise the harm that these children and young people cause to their victims and to themselves El-Murr, ; Fernandez, Research suggests that this type of sexual abuse is common, and that children and young people are most likely to experience sexual harm from other children and young people El-Murr, Such abuse often involves an older child or young person coercing or forcing a child who is younger, smaller or where there are marked developmental differences e.

Even when there is no information to suggest coercion, manipulation or force, this does not mean an absence of manipulation or pressure.

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Some Australian jurisdictions have child protection legislation e. New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria that allows for a diversionary pathway in place of a criminal justice response El-Murr, In some jurisdictions young people who have been found guilty of a child sexual abuse offence may be included on the sex offender register Victorian Law Reform Commission VLRC , Research suggests that sibling sexual abuse occurs at similar or higher rates to other types of intra-familial sexual abuse Quadara et al.

This type of sexual abuse is when there is sexual activity between a child or young person and a sibling that is non-consensual or coercive, or where there is an inequality of power or development between them. Add to Wish List. Close Preview. Toggle navigation Additional Book Information.

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Description Table of Contents Reviews. Summary The Sexual Exploitation of Children: A Practical Guide to Assessment, Investigation, and Intervention, Second Edition discusses the new and different developments in the manifestation of problems involved in investigation and assessment of sexual cases and offers advice on dealing with these issues.

Although many of the difficulties involved in investigation and assessment of sexual abuse allegations have remained unchanged since the first edition of this book appeared in , the manner in which investigations are conducted must adapt to these new and different developments. Reviews "This book is a must read for those involved with investigating or prosecuting cases involving the sexual exploitation of children. Request an e-inspection copy. Share this Title.

Transnational Child Sexual Abuse: Outcomes from a Roundtable Discussion

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