You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Children aren't sex 'perpetrators': expert

AAP logoAAP 20/10/2016 Andi Yu

Children who exhibit harmful sexualised behaviour are not the same as adult sex offenders, an expert has told the abuse royal commission.

Dr Wendy O'Brien was the first witness for the inquiry's latest set of hearings in Sydney examining institutional responses to children with "problematic or harmful sexual behaviours in schools".

Top Sydney private boys' schools Trinity Grammar and The King's School, Shalom Christian College in Townsville and three public primary schools are under the spotlight over their responses to "harmful sexual behaviour" by students.

Dr O'Brien told the commission the wider community lacked knowledge to deal with children with harmful sexual behaviours and tended to have an attitude "driven by fear and misconceptions".

She said words used in connection with adult sex offenders such as "perpetrator" and "grooming" were inappropriate when talking about children with harmful sexual behaviour.

"When children come to attention for these behaviours , they are infinitely more likely to have experienced compounding factors of childhood adversity," Dr O'Brien said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon