Last week we launched Responding To Child Sexual Exploitation, an online training resource for caseworkers, residential workers, house supervisors, managers, therapeutic specialists, and organizational leaders involved in out-of-home and restorative care.
The New South Wales Department of Communities and Justice asked the Centre for Excellence in Therapeutic Care for a program focused on responding to child sexual exploitation. The program consisted of a series of 8-online modules and a resource guide to support direct work. This was in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (2017) to assist in preventing and responding to child sexual exploitation Yumi Perkins Coaching.
Responding to Child Sexual Exploitation training demonstrates that not all victims of sexual exploitation are the same. Every victim is different. Not all victims are victims of child sexual abuse. These are the consistent variables that help us determine the kind of vulnerability, coercions, or circumstances that create the conditions for sexual exploitation in the life of a young child or teenager.
It might seem counterintuitive to state that the problem is not in the behavior but in the solution. It is possible to prove this. The main task of therapeutic (relationship-based) care professionals is to identify the child’s or young person’s unmet needs. These needs (not being met due to a child/young person’s participation in sexual exploitation) will help us determine the best actions and interventions to take. We can also help build/build the resources needed to help the child/young person get out of an abusive relationship.
Recognizing this allows us to provide a more informed and effective therapeutic service to the young person. This will enable them to leave abusive and exploitative relationships behind and establish meaningful connections with people who can offer safe and nurturing relationships.
One of the most challenging aspects of residential care is working with children and young adults who have been the victims of child sexual exploitation. Sometimes, the nature of these cases can leave practitioners feeling exhausted, hopeless, and unproductive. Recognizing that the problem is not the behavior, but the solution can increase our self-worth and success in doing worthwhile work. It can also decrease the chance of vicarious traumatization.
Responding To Sexual Exploitation and Safe Connections Resource Kit will help you understand the issues and challenges associated with this work, as well as resources to support you in working with the young people you care for.
As they go through their childhood, children gather information about everything. Children learn about the body, gender roles, behavior, and relationships. By age 13, 40-85% of children will have engaged in sexual conduct. Children of similar size and development are more likely to be curious about their sexuality than they are. There are many games that children can play, such as “playing doctor” or “spin the bottles,” to help them learn more about themselves and other people. This is part of typical childhood sexual development.