Behaviour is concerning or harmful if…
- It is targeted at younger children or anyone more vulnerable
- It is secretive
- It is aggressive, forceful, manipulative or threatening
- It is not consensual
- The sexual behaviour continues despite repeated requests to stop
- The young person appears driven to engage in sexual behaviour regardless of whether or not they will be punished or reprimanded
- Others complain about the teenager’s sexual behaviour or are adversely affected
- The sexual behaviour progresses in frequency, intensity or intrusiveness over time
- The sexual behaviour is directed at adults who feel uncomfortable about it
- The sexual behaviour is targeted at animals
- The sexual behaviour includes using electronic technology to make, access or distribute images and videos of concerning and harmful sexual behaviour of themselves or others
- Verbal and/or physical expressions of anger precede, follow or accompany the sexual behaviour.
Information sourced from Understanding Children’s Sexual Behaviours by Toni Cavanagh Johnson, PhD, and Ending Offending Together by Caroline Witten-Hannah, Frances Miller, John McCarthy.
Safe Network's services
Safe Youth Service offers a specialist intervention service for males and females aged 13-17 years who display concerning and harmful sexual behaviour.
Sexual development is one of many areas of change for adolescents. Adolescents engage in and display a range of sexual behaviour that is healthy and normal for their age. But when it is harmful, action should be taken to address the behaviour and prevent further harm.
It is easier to stop concerning and harmful sexual behaviour in children and adolescents with specialist help that directly addresses their age-appropriate and developmental needs.
In addition to individual services for youth and adolescents, Safe provides the following further specialist services:
Safe Network offers specialist intervention services for children (5 – 12 years), youth (13-17 years), and adults (18 years and over), through kaupapa Māori therapeutic models of practice.
Approximately 25% of Safe’s clients are Māori. The services under Te Kakano have been developed by and are delivered by Maori practitioners for Maori clients. Safe also has the external guidance and oversight of a kaumatua.
Safe Network offers specialist intervention pathways for Pasifika children (5 – 12 years), youth (13-17 years) and adults (18 years and over).
Our Amanaki Pasifika service has been developed and is led by clinicians of Samoan and Tongan descent who are fluent in their language and able to meet the clinical and cultural needs of this client group.
Safe Network offers specialist clinical assessment and intervention service for women who present with concerning and harmful sexual behaviour, and for their families.
This service pathway spans the range of Safe’s service areas and was designed to understand and accommodate the specific needs of female clients by providing a gender-responsive and collaborative service that acknowledges the social and cultural realities of women.
We provide services for those who have accessed, traded, or produced child sexual abuse material or who have engaged or communicated with children and young people online in a sexual context (grooming).
What is the process
At Safe Network we want to make sure you get the help you need. It is important to assess whether Safe is the right place to provide that help. We conduct an assessment to find out about the individual, their history and the sexual behaviour that has brought them to Safe. Their strengths and resources will be assessed, as well as their problems.
Family members and partners are part of the assessment process. The effects of the concerning or harmful sexual behaviour, the safety of others and the needs of the family are all important factors for consideration.
Although assessment processes across the service areas may have aspects unique to the focus of that client group, all assessments are likely to involve the following:
- Up to four interviews with the individual and their significant family members or support person(s)
- Collection of information and reports from other agencies or professionals who are involved e.g. CYF, Police, counsellors
- Completion of written questionnaires and psychological tests by the client and their adult family member or other support person(s).
Once the interviews and tests are completed, a detailed report is prepared. This will make recommendations about the person’s suitability for acceptance into Safe’s care. A copy of this report, including recommendations about the next steps, will be sent to the referring agency or person.
If an individual is accepted into Safe’s care, they will be allocated to a suitable clinician to undertake the intervention. Individuals are offered a tailored pathway within a suitable service that could range from 6-18 months’ duration. Each service includes all or some of the following:
- Weekly group sessions
- Weekly one-to-one appointments as required
- Monthly family sessions
- Annual intensive group therapy intervention of three days’ duration.
Our goal is to work with you to ensure you are able to lead a safe and healthy life.
This means that when you leave Safe’s care, we expect that you:
- Do not commit further offenses of any kind
- Take full responsibility for your offending behaviour
- Gain acceptance as a safe, responsible member of your family and whānau
- Are able to have safe intimate relationships with others
- Have created a safe and healthy lifestyle
Research indicates that around 95% of adults1 and 98% of adolescents2 with sexually harmful behaviour who complete one of Safe’s services will not engage in any further harmful sexual behaviour.
- Community Solutions for the Community’s Problem: An outcome evaluation of three New Zealand community child sex offender treatment programmes, by Ian Lambie and Malcolm Stewart, 2003
- Getting it Right: An evaluation of New Zealand community treatment programmes for adolescents who sexually offend. Ka pu e ruha, ka hao te rangatahi, by Ian Lambie, 2007.
Safe Network fact sheets