Sexual Abuse Counseling and Prevention Program (SACPP)

About This Program

Target Population: Young people aged 10-18 who have engaged in sexually abusive behaviors and their families

For children/adolescents ages: 10 – 18

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 10 – 18

Program Overview

SACPP is a counseling and treatment service that works holistically with families affected by child sexual abuse. It is designed to engage with the broader system around the child/young person – including schools, health services, out-of-home care providers (such as foster care and residential care), and other services providers. Young people who have engaged in sexually abusive behaviors require the ongoing support of their family and community to ensure their risk of re-offending is minimized. Therefore, an ecological approach to working with adolescents is essential.

Program Goals

The goals of the Sexual Abuse Counseling and Prevention Program are:

  • Help children to grow up and lead healthy, successful lives
  • Address the underlying causes of the sexually abusive behavior
  • Facilitate young people developing healthy sexuality, thus reducing their risk of harming others in the future

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Sexual Abuse Counseling and Prevention Program (SACPP).

Essential Components

The essential components of the Sexual Abuse Counseling and Prevention Program (SACPP) include:

  • After a young person has been referred to SACPP, a counselor will maintain contact with the parent/caregiver and provide the parent/caregiver with support while he/she awaits a service.
  • Following this, the young person will be allocated a counselor.
  • A Risk Assessment will occur over 6 to 8 sessions where the young person will be assessed on:
    • Their level of risk re-engaging in sexually abusive behaviors
    • Their therapeutic needs
    • Their suitability for the program
  • Following the assessment, recommendations are made:
    • Group therapy program:
      • 3 to 6 young people per group
      • Consists of a series of modules that have specific aims and objectives which include:
        • Taking Responsibility/Cycle of Offending
        • Victim Awareness
        • Fantasy Control
        • Relationships, Masculinity and Sexuality
        • Relapse Prevention
        • Emotions and Communication
    • Individual Counseling:
      • The following emotions and feelings are addressed in the counseling with the child:
        • Shame: Young people may feel shame about their behavior because they know they did the wrong thing.
        • Embarrassment: Young people might feel embarrassed by their behaviors and the idea of discussing them with others.
        • Fear: Young people may fear what is going to happen next. They may fear punishment, rejection, and being labeled by others.
        • Helplessness: Young people may feel helpless to stop their behavior.
        • Anger: Young people may feel angry towards others for disclosing their behavior. They may also feel angry at professionals and others for wanting to address their behavior.
        • Sadness & Depression: Negative feelings associated with their behaviors may leave young people feeling overwhelmed and struggling to cope. This may lead to sadness and depression.
  • Parents/Caregivers are encouraged to meet with counselors who will help with the following:
    • Anger at the child and/or themselves
    • Fear of what will happen next
    • Guilty that they are somehow responsible for their child's sexually abusive behaviors
    • Shock in thinking that it is usually only adults who are sexually abusive
    • Confusion about how and why their child's sexually abusive behavior has occurred
    • Frustration with their child as well as the police, legal, and welfare systems
    • Denial that their child has done what has been alleged
  • The following assessment scales are used during the assessment process for adolescents receiving treatment for sexually abusive behaviors:
    • Juvenile Sex Offender Assessment Protocol-II (J-SOAP-II)
    • Millon Adolescent Clinical Inventory (MACI)
    • Trauma Symptom Checklist
    • Adolescent Dissociative Experiences Scale (A-DES)

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

Sexual Abuse Counseling and Prevention Program (SACPP) directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Trauma related symptomology (flashbacks, nightmares, fears/anxieties, bedwetting, etc.)
  • Attachment issues
  • Problematic sexualized behaviors
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviors
  • Sexual development
  • Sexually harmful behavior
  • Sexually abusive behavior
  • Relapse prevention
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: Parents are provided their own counselor to enable them to discuss any issues regarding how the sexually abusive behavior of their child has impacted upon them. They also explore and develop strategies for supporting their child in treatment and beyond.Parents are also involved in dyad sessions with their child to strengthen attachment, enable them to bear witness to their child's experiences and to promote dialogue between them which is healthy and supports recovery.Family therapy work also occurs between the child, parents and other significant family members to address issues of family dynamics that exacerbate the symptoms of child sexual abuse.

Parent/Caregiver Services

Sexual Abuse Counseling and Prevention Program (SACPP) directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Emotions felt by parent/Caregiver of a child who has sexually abused
  • Lack of education and provision of support resources regarding child sexual abuse
  • Impacts of a parents own experiences of child sexual abuse on their parenting capacity, particularly in relation to parenting young people who have caused sexual harm similar to the harm they may have experienced themselves as children
  • Impacts on parents of their child's sexually abusive behaviors
  • Parent-child attachment issues
  • Relationship issues between parent and child who has engaged in sexually abusive behavior
  • Lack of management strategies for implementing safety plan and risk management plans in the home

Recommended Intensity:

It is recommended that young people attend individual treatment sessions of 50 minutes per session at least once weekly. Group programs generally run once weekly during school term for 12 months for young people engaging in sexually abusive behaviors. Clients eligible for group treatment usually attend group in addition to engaging in individual work, thus attending the program twice weekly for the duration of group work.

Recommended Duration:

18 months for young people engaging in sexually abusive behaviors or 12 months for group treatment programs for young people with sexually abusive behaviors.

Delivery Setting

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Outpatient Clinic


Sexual Abuse Counseling and Prevention Program (SACPP) includes a homework component:

Strategies for managing an issue are often identified in session and clients are requested to "try them out" at home and report back in the following session as to success of the strategy. Also, there are times when it is appropriate as part of the treatment for clients to have specific conversations with family members/teachers/etc. outside of session and these tasks are set and agreed upon in session, then reported back.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

  • Sound-proofed counseling rooms appropriately equipped with play therapy and art therapy equipment suitable for working with children
  • Group therapy rooms capable of comfortably accommodating up to 10 people
  • Art therapy tools – paints, clay, paper, canvas, glue, glitter, and so forth
  • Play therapy tools – dolls, sand trays, figurines/symbols, themed and un-themed puppets, themed and un-themed dress ups in children's sizes
  • A/V equipment for use in individual and group sessions – TV, DVD player
  • Family therapy rooms, equipped with observation screen and A/V equipment
  • Highly skilled and experienced therapists trained in children's counseling techniques
  • Experienced leadership to provide supervision and support for therapists
  • Resources to provide group supervision and critical incident debriefing for therapists as required
  • Comprehensive policies and procedures detailing Client Services delivery, risk management and child protection reporting procedures
  • Consent forms clearly detailing services for clients to ensure informed consent

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

Practitioners: A degree in Social Work or Psychology, with post-graduate qualifications in a counseling related field (such as art therapy, play therapy, Gestalt, Family Therapy, Counseling).

Supervisors: A degree in Social Work or Psychology, with extensive experience (i.e., more than 5 years) providing therapeutic services to children affected by sexual abuse.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is not training available for this program.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Sexual Abuse Counseling and Prevention Program (SACPP).

Additional References

No reference materials are currently available for Sexual Abuse Counseling and Prevention Program (SACPP).

Contact Information

Agency/Affiliation: Kids First Australia
Phone: +61 3 9474 4800
Fax: +61 3 9450 0999

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: November 2023

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: March 2016

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: October 2011