Kathleen Chalmer is a Clinical Coordinator within the Bravehearts Therapeutic Services team. Since becoming a registered psychologist in 2002, Kathleen has specialised in trauma and worked with children, adults and families in a variety of positions, including as a sexual assault counsellor, within employee assistance programs and in private practice. As a Bravehearts Clinical Coordinator, Kathleen is responsible for overseeing and supervising a team of clinicians, while also completing her own clinical work.
Keeping children safe from harmful sexual behaviour: An examination of Bravehearts’ therapeutic approach (Oral Paper Presentation)
Sexual behaviour in a child may be considered problematic if it occurs beyond their developmental level, or if it causes emotional or physical distress to the child or to others. Early intervention is vital to ensure the safety of the child and others, as problematic sexual behaviours may lead to long-term patterns of behavioural or conduct problems into adolescence and adulthood. Research has also shown that children who are sexually harmed by those of a similar age experience significant ongoing impacts, comparable to those who are harmed by adults. Younger children with problematic sexual behaviours are distinct from adolescents and adults who are sexually abusive however, in that their behavioural motivations frequently differ. Early intervention with this group is generally considered to have high prospects of success in terms of a return to developmentally appropriate behaviour.
This presentation outlines Bravehearts’ therapeutic approach to addressing problematic sexual behaviour among children up to 12 years of age. An evaluation of the therapeutic service is currently being undertaken using a mixed-methods approach, involving examination of client intake data, outcome and assessment measures, and personal accounts of service experience and outcomes obtained through an in-depth client/parent survey. Preliminary data from this evaluation will be discussed, focusing on presenting issues, engagement, and outcomes for child clients presenting with problematic sexual behaviours. The presentation will also explore how the results of this evaluation will be used to ensure that Bravehearts’ practice is both evidence-based and providing the best outcomes for child clients and their families.