Helpline Sexual Abuse:

details
Telefonnummer:

0800-22 55 530 Free of charge and anonymous

details Office hours:Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 9.00 a.m. until 2.00 p.m.Tuesday, Thursday: 3.00 p.m. until 8.00 p.m.(Except on public holidays and on 24th and 31st December.)
Calls will be answered anonymously. In this context, both, the calling parties and also the team working at the helpline Sexual Abuse will remain anonymous. Compliance with data protection provisions will be guaranteed at any time.
magnifier icon

Hilfe findenarrow

Beratungsstellen, Notdienste, Therapeutinnen und Therapeuten sowie weitere Fachleute, die Ihre Fragen zu sexuellem Missbrauch beantworten, finden Sie hier:

Zurück zu Übersicht Sexueller Missbrauch

Sexually assaultive behaviours among children and adolescents

Sexually assaultive behaviours among children and adolescents

Sexual violence against girls and boys is not only committed by adults, but to a large extent also by youth. However, even nursery and primary school children already display sexually abusive behaviour in the family, neighbourhood, day care centre, school, parish, holiday camp or sports club. The intensity of these sexually abusive behaviours varies widely, ranging all the way from pulling down gym shorts in physical education up to intense assaults where, for instance, a girl or boy is forced to lick another boy’s penis. The strategic approach of some sexually assaultive acts is even reminiscent of the deeds of adult perpetrators. In Germany, the term “sexuell übergriffige Kinder" - sexually assaultive children” has gained currency so as not to criminalise them as "offenders" and their acts as "abuse".   

In what ways do sexual assaults by children and minors impact on those affected?

The consequences for the girls and boys affected can differ widely and depend on a host of factors, such as intensity of the assault, age gap and how powerless and vulnerable a girl or boy being assaulted felt, what the relationship between the assaulting and the victimised child or youth was like. In many cases, the consequences are actually comparable to those observed in sexual abuse by adults. Whether or not girls and boys can cope with sexual assaults at the hands of other children or minors without suffering long-term adverse effects largely depends on how early adults become aware of the assaults, intervene and guide and support those affected on through recovery. 

Children and adolescents who experience sexually assaultive behaviours at the hands of other children and adolescents have a right to receive protection and assistance. In some cases, these can be provided by proper pedagogical responses from professionals - if appropriate preceded by counselling in a specialised counselling centre. In some cases, the girls and boys may need individualised counselling provided by a specialised counselling centre, maybe even therapeutic support. 

Why do children and minors commit sexual assaults?

Sexually assaultive behaviours of children and minors can be due to various causes. Personally experienced (sexual) violence committed by children, minors or adults can - but need not necessarily - play a role. Many children and adolescents have been inappropriately exposed to adult sexuality in the family or through pornographic material. Many of the assaultive girls and most of the boys also want to dominate others and struggle to respect personal boundaries. Some try to compensate their own feelings of powerlessness or helplessness through assaultive behaviour. In very young children, lack of impulse control is sometimes the underlying reason. 

Massive repeat sexual assaults by adolescents and children that cannot be stopped by educational measures alone can suggest that the welfare of the assaultive child or minor is endangered. In these cases, section 8(a) of Social Code Book VIII (SGB VIII) requires all educators to call in professional support; other professionals whose work brings them into contact with children and minors also have a right to obtain support (section 8 (b) SGB VIII).

Sexually assaultive boys and girls have a right to get help! They need qualified educators and specialised counselling and treatment services in order to stop their assaultive behaviour and address the underlying causes. 

Is “playing doctor” a cause for concern?

No, sexual curiosity and exploring one’s own body and the body of other children is a part of girls’ and boys’ healthy sexual development. It makes good sense to talk with children about rules and boundaries to prevent not only sexual assaults but also unintentional injuries. A general ban on “playing doctor” increases the risk that children feel left alone with their assault experiences. Of course, consensual sexual activities among youths of roughly the same age are not sexual violence, either. However, it is sometimes hard to tell where consensual sexuality ends and assault begins. Criteria to check for are, for instance, whether the partners engage with each other “at eye level”, whether both are able to consent in the first place and whether neither pressure nor force are used. For instance, social peer pressure can make girls or boys consent to activities they are actually uncomfortable with.  

Hilfeportal
Sexueller Missbrauch

List of bookmarksSeite versenden