1. The past 25 years have seen a growing awareness of the issues and complexity of sexual abuse of children. Many professionals now recognise that a very small proportion of children and young people, can and do, sexually abuse each other. We use the term 'sexually harmful' to describe that behaviour. 1 In 2006 three agencies, the Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care (Care Commission), Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education ( HMIE) and the Social Work Inspection Agency ( SWIA) conducted a review of the work of four residential schools providing specialist services for young people engaging in sexually harmful behaviour. Geilsland School, St Mary's Kenmure Secure Unit, Oakbank School and Kibble Education and Care Centre were jointly inspected between November 2005 and May 2006. The findings of these inspections have been analysed and set in the context of current research. This review reports on the services provided by the four schools for 36 young people with sexually harmful behaviour, it makes a series of recommendations to enhance and develop practice.
2. As part of this review we asked the Criminal Justice Social Work Development Centre (the Centre) to look at research on working with children with sexually harmful behaviour. 2 We also drew upon the findings of Hutton and Whyte's study of ' Young People and Sexually Harmful Behaviour in Scotland (2006)'. That study provided an analysis of data on 189 Scottish children and young people who were referred to, or were receiving specialist services during 2004.
3. In December 2005 the Scottish Executive published the ' Review of the Management Arrangements of Colyn Evans by Fife Council and Fife Constabulary'. Colyn Evans had been a pupil at Geilsland School for 16 months. In response to key questions in the report about the safety and effectiveness of work with young people with sexually harmful behaviour, Scottish Ministers instructed an immediate inspection of the arrangements for the care and education of young people at Geilsland. Ministers subsequently requested similar inspections to be carried out at the three other schools which provided services for young people with sexually harmful behaviour. The outcomes of the inspections were reported separately for each school and copies of the reports can be obtained from the Care Commission ( www.carecommission.com ). These reports highlight areas of strength found in individual schools and they contain recommendations on improvements which individual schools needed to make. These have been followed up at subsequent inspections.
4. This review draws upon these reports to discuss key issues in the care of the young people. These included assessment, programmes, young people's health, effective leadership and management. The review found significant differences in the depth of experience and expertise in working with this group of young people.
5. Throughout this review we refer to young people, defined as those over the age of 12 years. Legally most of the young people in this study are 'children', but we make the distinction in practice terms as there is broad current agreement by researchers and specialist practitioners that children aged under 12 years have different needs.
6. The majority of the young people we discuss are boys. Both in the group of 36 we studied and in the group Hutton and Whyte (2006) studied, less than 7% were girls. We recognise the importance of work with girls and that there are currently very few specific programmes which have been developed to meet their particular needs. In addition, programmes are required which address the particular needs of young people with learning disabilities.
7. The conclusions which can be drawn from current research are limited by the absence of longitudinal studies and also by the low detection rate for sexual abuse. However, the research which has been done suggests that few young people who engage in sexually harmful behaviour in their adolescence go on to become adult abusers. Those who receive appropriate help are even less likely to continue their behaviour (Worling and Curwen 2000). Young people with sexually harmful behaviour are at greatest risk when adults fail to recognise and respond to them appropriately. Minimising their behaviour, putting it down to youthful experimentation and hoping they will 'grow out of it' is not helpful. The staff in the four schools and the local authority social workers were all committed to tackling the young people's behaviour and offering them an opportunity to manage, control and change their behaviour. This review sets out to analyse the ways in which this was done.
8. This report is for people who are concerned for the welfare of young people with sexually harmful behaviour and the protection of their victims. It will have relevance to a number of agencies:
- Organisations who provide services in residential settings and in the community;
- Local authorities who are commissioning resources for young people;
- Staff who are working with them and with their families; and
- Reporters and members of children's panels.
In each chapter we identify examples of good practice by schools, local authorities and other agencies in the care and management of the young people.