Commissioned research

Differentiating adverse childhood experiences profiles of male youths who exhibit harmful sexual behaviours

  • Children & young people
  • Drivers
  • Harmful sexual behaviours
  • Prevalence
Project Length
18 months
Project Budget
(funded by National Centre)
Funding Stream

Project Lead

Dr Lisa Thomsen, Griffith University

Project Team

Professor John Rynne, Griffith Youth Forensic Service, Griffith University

Dr James Ogilvie, Griffith Criminology Institute, Griffith University 

Dr Danielle Arlanda Harris, Griffith Criminology Institute, Griffith University

Ms Jodie Barton, Griffith Youth Forensic Service, Griffith University

Background and Aim

Youths that exhibit harmful sexual behaviours are a diverse population, with a broad range of offence types, victim characteristics and modus operandi. While adverse childhood experiences are prevalent in the developmental histories of youths that sexually harm, greater knowledge of the differential influence of childhood abuse, neglect, maltreatment and other adversity is needed. This project aims to further understanding of relationships between adverse childhood experiences and harmful sexual behaviours for male youth by exploring the ways in which experiences co-occur, and examining differences in patterns of co-occurrence in order to identify typologies of youths that sexually harm. 


This quantitative study will utilise two sources of data on male youths who have exhibited harmful sexual behaviours – a Youth Justice administrative dataset on 427 youths convicted for sexual harm, and data extracted from clinical case files of 370 young males receiving services from a specialised treatment program for youths engaging in harmful sexual behaviours.


Identifying typologies of youths that exhibit harmful sexual behaviours will provide greater understanding of the aetiology of sexual harm perpetration, thereby informing policy and practice decisions, and allowing intervention strategies to be tailored to the specific needs of young people, with the ultimate goal of preventing sexual harm.

Related posts: 
  • Children & young people
  • Drivers
  • Harmful sexual behaviours
  • Prevalence
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