When Children Abuse

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been reviewed by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

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About This Program

Target Population: Children from 5 to 12 years of age who have been identified by any number of sources for exhibiting inappropriate sexual behavior that involves the exploitation of other children

For children/adolescents ages: 5 – 12

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 5 – 12

Brief Description

When Children Abuse is a structured, cognitive behavioral program that addresses the dynamics and behavior of children with sexual behavior problems. The types of sexual behavior addressed include a broad spectrum, ranging from socially inappropriate behavior to aggressive sexual assault involving force or coercion.

It was developed with issue-related modules that can be tailored to address the child, the behavior and the circumstances presented at intake and as treatment progresses. Its guidelines include intake criteria, client assessment, and two types of progress and evaluation tools which can be applied during and following treatment.

It is a “Parallel” treatment program because it includes simultaneous educational/ treatment groups for the caretakers of its child clients, due to the degree of dysfunction, unresolved personal issues and/or emotional reactions of the parents.

The program is based on the belief that a child, regardless of the specificity of the referral or severity of the behavior, must be seen and addressed as a whole child. If there are multiple diagnoses or abuse issues, cognitive/developmental issues, complex family circumstances, etc., these should be addressed as part of treatment.

Program Goals:

The goals of When Children Abuse are:

  • The client will develop the tools to stop inappropriate sexual behavior.
  • The client will gain skills to develop positive relationships with peers and younger children.
  • The client who has been abused will be able to resolve the trauma in such a way that it will not be used as a primitive defense mechanism (i.e., as a projective identification with the aggressor).
  • Upon completion of treatment, the client will be able to develop positive attachments to caregivers and significant others.
  • The family will develop an understanding of the issues that brought them into treatment and gain an understanding of the reasons behind the behavior.
  • Other impulsivity issues and co-morbid diagnoses will be addressed, and symptoms will be reduced.
  • The client who feels shamed or unworthy will gain a more positive sense of him or herself.

Contact Information

Carolyn Cunningham, PhD
Agency/Affiliation: Private Practice and Anger Management 411
Phone: (818) 845-5679 or (818) 951-3200
Fax: (760) 295-8177

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: September 2013

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: November 2016

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: August 2011