Why youths are committing sex crimes against children

CHILDREN who commit sex offences more often than not won't grow up to be repeat offenders.

Psychologist Dr Tonya Plumb, of APS Psychologists, works with sex offenders, regularly providing psychological assessment and treatment.

Dr Plumb said a sibling committing a sex offence against another sibling did not mean the offender had a predatory nature or would grow up to commit further sex offences.

"Repeat sex offending is not actually the norm," Dr Plumb said.

"There is a group of people who are repeat sex offenders, who probably offend over and over. They are a very small percentage of sex offenders."

"There's a whole group of offenders ... whose offending is probably related more to other things like intimacy deficits.

"This doesn't excuse their behaviour ... but they're actually not sexually deviant."

The majority of offences, including sex offences, are committed by juveniles. In fact, Dr Plumb said research showed that someone committing an offence against a sibling was less likely to re-offend than if the offence was committed against a stranger.

"A lot of the time when they're juvenile sex offences against a sibling ... it's immature sexual exploration that's got out of hand," Dr Plumb said.

"Sometimes they haven't had good supervision ... or the boundaries (within the family) are a bit blurred."

James Cook University professor and sex therapist Matthew Yau said children were becoming sexualised too early but were not receiving enough education on how to deal with their sexual urges.

"Very often we're not touching on what relationships are about, how to treat each other ... how to handle it when someone says 'no'," Prof Yau said.

On Friday, a Nebo man was jailed for having consensual sex with a 12-year-old girl when he was 19.

Dr Plumb said sometimes the mental age gap between the two may be a lot closer than the physical age gap - the offenders, while in the wrong, weren't necessarily predators.

Young girls sometimes engaged in sexual behaviour with older boys in a bid to be treated as an "adult", Prof Yau said.

Topics:  court crime mackay sex crime youth

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