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Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

New tool launched to identify and deal with signs of harmful sexual behaviour

09 January 2024

Children and young people need to be seen as children first rather than as perpetrators. That's the message from the Safeguarding Partnership Board (SPB) which is today launching a new tool to help practitioners identify and appropriately deal with signs of harmful sexual behaviour by children and young people.

The SPB hopes the use of the internationally recognised Brook Traffic Light tool will stop inappropriate referrals to t​he Children and Families Hub and the stigmatisation and criminalisation of children and young people.

It will increase the competence and confidence in practitioners to spot the signs and intervene early to prevent behaviours from escalating and meet the needs of children and young people. The tool will help practitioners to make consistent and informed decisions using a common language.

Harmful Sexual Behaviour (HSB) is defined as sexual behaviour by under 18s that is “developmentally inappropriate, may be harmful towards self or others and/or be abusive towards another child, young person or adult".

The SPB wants to ensure that practitioners are supported and equipped with the tools to spot signs and respond appropriately to children and young people's needs, rather than just solely focusing on risks.

The Brook Traffic Light tool offers guidance for age-appropriate behaviour and defines behaviours within green, amber and red categories. All green, amber and red behaviours require some form of attention and response. It is the level of intervention that will vary.

The introduction of the Brook Traffic Light tool is part of the 'prevention and identification' work under the Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Strategy (CSAE) 2022-2024. The vision for the strategy is for children and young people in Jersey to live free from sexual abuse and exploitation.

It is available to all practitioners working with children and young people.

Jane Lancaster Adlam, chair of the CSAE subgroup, said: “It's vitally important that we have the Brook Traffic Light tool in place to provide a unified approach in supporting all practitioners working with children and young people in their understanding of harmful sexual behaviour. This will assist with early identification and ensuring relevant support is in place as soon as possible to both protect and safeguard all our young people."

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