Early Intervention Project
This project arose as a result of the WellStop and STOP Trust sexual offender treatment programmes being aware that many of the youth referred as teenagers had a history of inappropriate sexual behaviour as children, with much of this inappropriate sexual behaviour first coming to light in the school setting. We realised that if children who showed significant inappropriate sexual behaviour at school received early and appropriate intervention, they could be prevented from developing sexual abusing behaviours in adolescence.
We started assessing the need for early intervention in school settings by investigating the experience of teachers. In 2007 WellStop engaged Victoria University to carry out a survey of 143 teachers looking at their experiences of inappropriate sexual behaviour in year 7 and 8 students (10-13 years old).
This survey showed that a quarter of teachers had dealt with disturbing sexual behaviour including exposure, masturbation in the classroom, sexual assaults on other pupils, soliciting on the streets, and an unexpected degree of sexual knowledge for age. The teachers surveyed indicated a need for greater knowledge on how to deal with inappropriate sexual behaviour in school settings and sought support to deal with these behaviours more effectively. Click here to download Teacher Survey WellStop Report.
In order to address this need WellStop has developed a project with the STOP Trust in Christchurch to intervene in 12 schools to support teachers to manage inappropriate sexualised behaviour more effectively. We will also work more intensively with eight children who need a higher level of intervention. This project is funded from a grant from the Ministry of Justice Crime Prevention Unit. Consequently there is no cost to either schools or to families participating in this project.
The project is due for completion in November 2010.