Good practice in delivering and evaluating interventions for young people with harmful sexual behaviours

Project Summary - PI.17.07

Perpetrator interventions strategic research priority 3.3 Models to address diversity

Young people account for a significant proportion of perpetrators of sex abuse against children and young people and many have a history of childhood trauma including exposure to domestic and family violence. Such knowledge has seen a shift in treatment approaches toward specialised therapeutic services. For a variety of reasons however, there has been significant disparity in the therapeutic models applied.

This mixed methods study will utilise:

  • national mapping of service responses to young people with harmful sexual behaviours;
  • a comparative process evaluation of three services (including semi-structured interviews and focus groups with program managers and practitioners and interviews with clients and statutory and policy professionals. The fieldwork will also include interpretation of findings with practitioner participants); and
  • conclude with a research to policy/practice forum. The forum will test and refine insights from the three sites to inform future policy and service model design.

This project will utilise the knowledge of practitioners and other stakeholders to better understand the complex interplay between program design and outcomes and contextual factors that shape therapeutic responses in order to support a practice-informed understanding of good practice principles of specialised interventions, informing future therapeutic approaches. 


Project Lead

Dr Antonia Quadara, Australian Institute of Family Studies

Research expertise

  1. Dr Wendy O'Brien, Deakin University 

Practice expertise

  1. Mr Dale Tolliday, New Street Services
  2. Mr Howard Bath, Alambi Care
  3. Ms Carolyn Worth, South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence 

Research Partners

  1. New Zealand Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abuse (ANZATSA)
  2. Mr Russell Pratt, Statewide Principal Practitioner in the Office of Professional Practice DHHS (who delivers SABTS programs in Victoria)
  3. Advisory Group with representatives from diverse sectors such as police, child and family welfare agencies, family support services, family violence services, child protection and education. 

Additional information

Additional project information is available at 

Project length

2 years