Therapeutic Treatment Orders

Database Filters


Community based treatment programmes for young people with harmful sexual behaviour.

Type of intervention

Individual work, group work, family setting

Target groups, level of prevention and subgroups

  • (Potential) Offenders | Secondary prevention | Children (6-11 years), Young People (12-17 years) | Male and female | Individual work, group work, family setting | English
  • (Potential) Offenders | Tertiary prevention | Children (6-11 years), Young People (12-17 years) | Male and female | Individual work, group work, family setting | English

Target population

Male and female young people aged ten to 15 years who exhibit sexually abusive behaviours. Children up to ten years are also included as children exhibiting problem sexual behaviours. It is a combination of individual, group and family focused work and a therapy-based program.

Delivery organisation

A state-wide program funded by the Victorian State Government and delivered by the Centres Against Sexual Assault (CASAs) in Victoria. It is also delivered by the Gatehouse Centre, Royal Children's Hospital, Australian Childhood Foundation and the Children's Protection Society.

Mode and context of delivery

A community based treatment model delivered across Victoria, which aims to reduce further sexually abusive behaviour and sexual recidivism.

Level/nature of staff expertise required

Registered social workers and psychologists provided specific training in Sexually Abusive Behaviour Treatment (SABT). Ideally members of ANZATSA, ATSA, NOTA.

Intensity/extent of engagement with target group(s)

Individually tailored programs based on assessed needs, within a twelve month program that can be extended for a further twelve months if required. Treatment incorporates weekly group and /or individual treatment and family therapy. It can also involve the inclusion of parents within both individual and group treatment programs. Interaction with school staff where appropriate and where the young person is residing in out of home care (with carers involved) is integral to treatment paradigm.

Description of intervention

Therapeutic Treatment Orders aim to reduce the risks of further sexually abusive behaviours through development of different ways of thinking and behaving. This is a community based program of treatment, which utilises a model based on "sanctuary-style" approaches (Bloom & Farragler, 2010), incorporating four pillars of trauma sensitivity. Following assessment of needs, the 12 months’ duration program involves working with youth to:

  • Assist them to recognise and understand emotions
  • Be able to regulate emotions
  • Process and understand why and how they were able to sexually assault others
  • Move forward - practicing healthy sexuality and future orientations

The treatment model is informed by the ‘Good Way Model’ (Ayland & West, 2006), as well as ‘Good Lives’ principles (Ward et al, 2003). Both group and individual work is used as appropriate, with a variety of therapeutic paradigms being incorporated into the work, including movement and drama therapy, breathing exercises, yoga, dance, role play and experiential therapies. The treatment paradigm and how it is embedded within the legislation is well described in the Specialist Practice Resource ‘Adolescents with sexually abusive behaviours and their families: Best Interest Case Practice Model Specialist Practice Resource’ (Pratt, Miller & Boyd, 2010) and also in Pratt (2013).


No evaluation data available.


Ayland, L., & West, B. (2006) The Good Way Model: A strength-based approach to working with young people, especially those with intellectual disabilities, who have sexually abusive behaviours. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 12,pp. 189-201.

Bloom, S. L., & Farragher, B. (2010) Destroying sanctuary: The crisis in human service delivery systems. New York, Oxford University Press.

Pratt, R. (2013) A community treatment model for adolescents who sexually harm: Diverting youth from criminal justice to therapeutic responses, International Journal of Behavioral Consultation & Therapy, 8, 3-4, pp. 37-42.

Pratt, R., Miller, R., & Boyd, C. (2010). Adolescents with sexually abusive behaviours and their families: Best interest case practice model Specialist practice resource, Victoria, Australia. Victorian Government, Department of Human Services.

Victorian Consolidated Acts. (2005). Children, Youth and Families Act (2005) (Publication no. 96 of 2005). State of Victoria. 

Ward, T. & Stewart, C. (2003) The treatment of sex offenders: Risk management and good lives. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 34, 353-360.

Contact details

Russ Pratt, D.Psych
Tel: +61430530125.  


RATING: Pioneering