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Vince Mercer AIM Project www.aimproject.org.uk www.aimproject.org.uk Under the radar…. Or over the rainbow? RJ and adolescent harmful sexual behaviour.

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Presentation on theme: "Vince Mercer AIM Project www.aimproject.org.uk www.aimproject.org.uk Under the radar…. Or over the rainbow? RJ and adolescent harmful sexual behaviour."— Presentation transcript:

1 Vince Mercer AIM Project Under the radar…. Or over the rainbow? RJ and adolescent harmful sexual behaviour ai m

2 The title reflects…. Under the radar….. Quiet and low key/low volume work Less emphasis upon traditional research methodology and more on valuable practice insight/knowledge Struggles with gaining funding Govt Statutory agencies avoiding contentious/complex cases/issues Over the rainbow…. Confident about the applicability of the approach if… Good quality practice standards and effective assessment/ structured and accountable decision making Growing demand from victims and growing powerful accounts of victims who have experienced good RJ in a HSB context

3 What I hope to cover…. Some data on prevalence and nature of child/adolescent HSB Profile of victims Some consideration of victim impact International RA to HSB The experience of England and Wales Research concerns Practice standards

4 Prevalence Home Office statistics: 30-35% of all sexual assaults are committed by young people under 18 years 10% of all sexual assaults are committed by children/ young people (Joint Thematic Review Feb 2013) Only considers those young people who have gone down a criminal justice route Approx 6% of a YOT caseload will be HSB (AIM survey 4/6 % of Referral Orders for HSB)

5 CJJI Report ‘ Examining multi agency responses to children and YP who sexually offend’ Feb cases all through CJS; Sexual assault most common offence type 7 had pre conv. (only 1 forHSB) 2 had prev victimisation history 7 low IQ/SEN All had ‘complex needs’ Only 1 sexual recidvism

6 CJJI contd ; Sentence type 4YOI/DTO 11 Comm Supervision 7 RO 1 FW 1 Not known

7 Relational context In cases of youth HSB over 96% of offender have some form of relationship with victim In 40/50 % cases interfamilial (Ryan) Simons Hackett’s research on family responses to yp displaying HSB 27% were wholly interfamilial and a further 27% were both inter and extrafamilial (2012)

8 Greater Manchester Youth Justice Trust (GMYJT) data 2007 In 107 case of male offender; in 55 cases female victims (72%) in 19 cases male victims, 4 cases of both genders, In 2 cases of female offender 1 was a male victim, 1 was female

9 GMYJT research 75 adolescent offenders, 109 victims 48 cases 1 single victim, 19 cases 2 victims 6 cases had 3+ victims. In 2 cases no identifiable victim (new media/ indecent image cases; anecdotally this is increasing)

10 GMYJT data In 79% of cases the offender/victim had some form of relationship Of these 31% were interfamilial 19% of cases there was no relationship whatsoever

11 GMYJT data; Age of victims In terms of age; child abusers were defined as a victim4 yrs or more younger than themselves 43% of offenders fell into this group, 43% were peer abusers, 4% were adult victims, (rest age unknown)

12 Types of offences GMYJT research indicated; Sexual assault (non penetrative) 67% Rape 4.5% Att rape 1% Others described as ‘gross indecency, USI, Indecent exposure, possession and distribution of indecent imagery,

13 GMYJT data Most offences were non penetrative Over 69% single incidents taking place on a single day Contrast with the presumed adult HSB notion of multiple abuse over sustained period of time

14 Comparisons with Australian data Bahours, 2006, South Australian data on 55 convicted adolescent offenders. Remarkable similar Most victims female Most offenders male Most victims same age or younger than offender High congruence of relationship Sexual assault (non penetrative) most common offence

15 Brief observations on the victim impact of adolescent SHB

16 No standard model of impact…. ‘ ….it must be emphasized that people’s reactions to being victimised are individual and unpredictable. While there are some discernable patterns, it can never be assumed that a particular offence with have predictable consequences for the victim’ Prof Brian Williams 1999

17 What does the research say? Lack of reference to sexual offending in victimology Cross-over with welfare/child abuse Few studies of the impact of child/adolescent- on child abuse

18 Impact on Victims of HSB…. 1/3 Have some impact that can be addressed and supported by family members 1/3 are asymptomatic and show no sign of harm 1/3 require detailed specialist professional support ( drawn from presentation at NOTA Lancaster Conf by Lucy Berliner ). Danger of extrapolating from narrow band of victim impact studies that focus upon rape or adult on Child Sexual Abuse

19 Link between CSA and later psychopathology There is considerable evidence of the impact of CSA on psychological and physical health. However, some children have been found to demonstrate considerable resilience in the face of such adversity. – ‘A significant number demonstrate no long term adverse effects’ Drawn from Dr Nadia Wagner, University of Bedford It appears that it is the disclosure experience rather than the CSA per se, which accounts for the apparent link (Waller & Ruddock, 1993; Everill & Waller, 1994) Specifically, reactions from recipients of the disclosure that fuel a sense of self-blame or shame.

20 Influences on the level of harm…. Protective factors – Having one supportive caregiver – Having positive adult role models – Individual/ collective factors of resilience – Opportunity to appropriately place responsibility and articulate the reality of impact/state needs Risk factors – Early onset of abuse – Multiple perpetrators – The severity and duration of the abuse – Ongoing exposure to risk – Additional vulnerabilities – A negative response to disclosure/ victim disbelief/blaming – Adversarial Criminal Justice response

21 Resilience characteristics and Recovery Being able to share problems with others Being able to put your experience into a broader perspective Using your experience to gain insight and awareness Being able to find acceptable answers to why questions or, in some cases, to stop asking the questions, because there are no answers Not feeling personally responsible for what happened and being able to locate blame appropriately Being able to place reactions where they belong- that is, in the incident that caused them, rather than internalise them Adapted from Dr. D Meichenbaum

22 International Practice RJ/HSB South Australia has most widespread use of RJ for Youth HSB. (Restorative Conferencing) Belgium has both limited Mediation and FGC case experience Some experience of Mediation in Denmark on Sexual Violence (Karin Sten Madsen) Project Restore adult based work in NZ ‘Victim Clarification’ model in some US states

23 UK and ROI NI Youth Conferencing Service Individual Case work in adult/ youth arena from Probation Service and YOT’s ROI ‘One in Four’ faith based abuse AIM Project adolescent HSB using mediation and FGC, Practice Guidance and RJ HSB Assessment framework

24 Primary drivers for RJ in HSB cases (AIM experience) Relational context of offence, negotiating a safer future Accounting for wider impact upon family, community Method to articulate the family impact and engage with family as partners Shame acknowledgement, offender, victim and family To enable dialogue, work with strengths and integrate into therapeutic work with victim, offender and family Failure of conventional CJS responses to deliver the above

25 Reasons why RJ in HSB context has been under the radar… In RJ terms…. Implementation of RJ in Youth Justice following Crime and Disorder Act Focus upon low hanging fruit/easy outcome high volume/low skill/reparative activity Lack of commitment from YJB Poor trng for Restorative practitioners in sensitive and complex cases Lack of multi methodology for RA Fears…. Anxiety around impacts on victims of HSB; lack of direct victim contact/engagement Adult offender models stressing high impact/deficits/ high risks of offenders and need for strong professional controls Poor networking/support to Restorative practitioners

26 Research challenges for RJ in HSB Feb 2013 Heather Strang in conf ‘RJ Evidence; what do we know/ where are the gaps?’ noted that although we know a great deal about RJ, its application and effectiveness in a general sense, we know very little about RJ for specific complex offences such as gendered violence; Moreover for low volume/complex cases such as HSB the gold standard of RCT may not be applicable/deliverable when evaluating RJ with sensitive populations ; she states ‘Some preliminary data on effectiveness may be obtainable by methods less rigorous than RCT - but how useful? how reliable’

27 Research 2 At the same conf Joanna Shapland also acknowledged that we know almost nothing about the use of RJ conferencing for either DV or HSB There is some limited data on the potential for RJ to impact upon reported rates of PTSD with regard to serious offences (Dr CM Angel; 2006; RJC) but this is not specific to HSB

28 Research 3 EU DAPHNE Project on RJ and Sexual Violence due to report in Nov Found it difficult to locate sufficient volume of practice to answer traditional research questions/approach AIM’s case load closed last year and we have been primarily interested in generating practice knowledge and guidance as well as operational tools such as the RJ/HSB Assessment Framework and the Sensitive and Complex Case RJ Assessment Framework

29 Reasons we might hope for a little more ‘over the rainbow…’ Shift in YJB focus (Development Fund) towards Sensitive and Complex cases Increased access of victims to RJ (Victims Code of Practice) RJ commissioning via PCC’s Establishment of Good Practice Standards and accreditation. Both HO Best Practice Guidance and NOS for RJ Availability of good quality practice tools such as AIM HSB assessment framework and the AIM Sensitive and Complex Assessment Framework Links into current offender work themes such as Desistance approaches, Good Lives Model, the importance of family engagement, linking RJ into therapeutic responses to victims and offenders; renewed interest in the HSB Offence Professional Community in issues around shame and shame acknowledgement

30 References Hackett, S Balfre, M and Masson, H (2012) ‘Family Responses to Young People who have Sexually Abused; Anger, Ambivalence and Acceptance’ in Children and Society AIM Project ‘ Revised Assessment framework for restorative approaches to SHB’ (2013) AIM Project ‘ Best Practice series’ Restorative Meetings and SHB’ (2007) Mercer, V, Henniker,J: ‘Restorative Justice; Can it work with young people who sexually abuse?’ in ‘Working with Children and Young People who sexually abuse; taking the field forward’ Ed Calder M, (2007) Mann RE, Burnett,G ‘Empathy, Cognition and sexual reoffending’ NOS Management Service 2012 Jo’s Story in ‘Resolution’ Ed 40, Spring 2011, Restorative Justice Council Braithwaite J, 1989 ‘Crime, Shame and Reintegration’ McGlynn,C, Westmarland,N, Godden,N; ‘I just wanted him to hear me; Sexual Violence and the possibilities of RJ’ Jnl of Law and Society Vol 39, No2, June 2012


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