Tune-in here to the national symposium starting at 9 am on 3/20 and 3/21.
The event will begin approximately between 9:15am and 9:30am ET.
div>Submit Questions for the Q&A sessions at Slido.com and use code #7408.
The crime of child sexual abuse is sadly a familiar one to the American public. However, one category of child sexual abuse has largely escaped the public’s attention: child-on-child sexual abuse.
There is growing concern among parents, educators, and child safety experts regarding children who sexually abuse other children. Typically, such scenarios include a youth who uses their age, physical strength, or positions of status or authority, to engage other youth in sexual activity. Child-on-child sexual abuse also includes a wide range of other harmful sexual behaviors such as peeping, exhibitionism, exposure to pornography, sexual harassment (including cyber-based), fondling, etc., and may occur between young children.
This issue is extremely complex. There is a victim whose life has often been deeply impacted by the abuse and he or she deserves justice. Parents and loved ones experience great sorrow for the victim, and that is compounded when they are parents to the victim and to the abuser. On top of that, the abuse often triggers their own trauma from past sexual abuse they may have experienced. Our judicial and mental health systems tend to treat youth with illegal or problematic sexual behaviors (PSB) as adults. In a number of states, youth who act out on other youth are placed on the sex offender registry for the entirety of their lives with no chance to be removed — some are just eight years old. There are many social stigmas and misunderstandings that treat youth with PSB as “monsters” who are destined to act out again. These issues and more make it difficult to report these cases of abuse and to get help for all involved.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation is shining a light on these complex problems and is insisting that policy makers, medical professionals, educators, and more come together to not only provide help and healing for the victim, but to also provide help and healing for the youth who offends.
There are many reasons to include services for children with harmful or problematic sexual behaviors such as:
- Some of these children were victims of sexual abuse, other abuse or neglect, prior to developing PSB themselves.
- Others, who don’t have a history of child sexual abuse or other abuse, are still children whose problematic behaviors need attention so they don’t harm others or further harm themselves.
- Some families are dealing with having both the child harmed or victimized, and the child who did the harm or victimizing. The balancing of needs to support and help both children present major challenges.
- Programs that provide services for children and youth who are victimized are increasingly getting requests for information on services for children/youth with PSB.
- All children or youth with harmful sexual behaviors do not go on to sexually offend, but targeting problematic behaviors BEFORE they reach criminal levels is key to preventing perpetration.
To help equip parents, educators, school administrators, and policymakers to address the challenges, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation is hosting a national Symposium on March 20-21, 2019 on “Out of the Shadows: Confronting the Rise of Child-on-Child Harmful Sexual Behavior”
This symposium is being held in collaboration with the National Catholic School of Social Service at The Catholic University of America and Protect Young Minds.
This convening will bring together leading experts, victim advocates, and practitioners who will share research and policy recommendations for improving ways of addressing child-on-child sexual abuse when it occurs and for prevention. Please join us as we seek to bring this issue out of the shadows and into mainstream conversations about sexual violence prevention and child protection.
*CEUs for licensed social workers are available from the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence (MNADV). MNADV is authorized by the Board of Social Work Examiners in Maryland to sponsor social work continuing education programs. The entire event will be 10 credit hours and they are ASWB approved.