Scheme to tackle worrying sexual behaviour in children launched in South Gloucestershire and Bristol by the Be Safe Children's Service
A NEW scheme to tackle worrying sexual behaviour in children has been rolled out by North Bristol NHS Trust and Barnardos South West.
The Be Safe Children’s Service, a multi-agency organisation managed by the trust, received £444,500 from the Big Lottery Realising Ambition Fund to set up the specialist treatment programme.
As part of the initiative, the service will work with children aged eight to 12 years old who behave in a sexually harmful way towards their peers, parents or caregivers.
Stephen Barry, North Bristol NHS Trust’s specialist clinician for the Be Safe Service, said: "We know that children who behave in a sexually harmful way towards other children are often victims of abuse themselves, and this could be sexual, physical, emotional abuse, exposure to domestic abuse and/or neglect. Although this is not always the case.
"It is important therefore that we work in partnership with other organisations to reach some of the most troubled young people in the community, identify harmful behaviour and provide the support and treatment needed to deal with it at an early stage "
"This is an innovative approach to meet a significant gap in service provision for this group of children, whilst ensuring that what is being offered actually makes a difference."
The Be Safe Service has been working with teenagers with harmful sexual behaviour and their families for the last five years.
The programme has been developed in the United States by the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Centre and provides cognitive behavioural and psychological treatment and support to eliminate or reduce problematic sexual behaviour in children.
The Be Safe Service works with several agencies including Barnardos South West, Bristol and South Gloucestershire CYPS, Bristol & South Gloucestershire Youth Offending Teams, NHS Bristol and Avon and Somerset Police.