Allegations of sexually abusive behaviour (TTR)

Follow this procedure when registering a therapeutic treatment report (TTR) about a child aged 10 and under 18 years old and has engaged in sexually abusive behaviours.

Document ID number 1005, version 5, 29 March 2019.

Introduction

The Children, Youth and Families Act (CYFA makes provisions for reports about children aged 10 years or over and under 18 years of age who exhibit sexually abusive behaviours and are believed to need therapeutic treatment.

A TTR can be made by any person and can also be made about a child subject to current child protection involvement.

TTRs cannot be closed at intake as section 210 of CYFA requires child protection to investigate all therapeutic treatment reports to determine the nature and extent of the sexually abusive behaviours and the appropriateness of a therapeutic treatment order.

Where child protection receives a report from Victoria Police or the Criminal Division of the Children’s Court, or a report regarding a current child protection client, the matter must be referred to the Therapeutic Treatment Board (TTB) for advice. If child protection is satisfied on reasonable grounds (and after advice has been received from the TTB where appropriate) that a child is in need of therapeutic treatment, apply to the Family Division of the Children’s Court for a therapeutic treatment order (TTO).

If a child needs to be placed in out-of-home care to ensure they attend and participate in an appropriate treatment program, you can apply for a therapeutic treatment placement order (TTPO).

The provisions relating to children in need of therapeutic treatment are additional to the Secretary’s obligations and powers in relation to significant concerns for wellbeing or children in need of protection.

A child may be the subject of both a protection order and a TTO, or TTO and TTPO, concurrently.  In this situation, requirements in relation to managing the protection also apply.

Procedure

Case practitioner tasks

Important requirements regarding a current child protection client:

  • Where there are a range of complexities, consider a consultation with the divisional principal practitioner, or in the absence of the divisional principal practitioner, consult with the Office of the Professional Practice if the child is currently on a protection order and/or residing in out-of-home care.
  • Assessment must focus on the safety of known and potential victims as well as the young person’s own safety.
  • Contact the Sexually Abusive Behaviour Treatment Service (SABTs) if the child has previously or is engaged in treatment to ascertain attendance and previous or current therapeutic intervention.
  • Undertake an assessment of the victimised child to ascertain their safety, referral for crisis counselling and ongoing therapeutic support.
  • Refer to the TTB.

See Therapeutic treatment reports and orders - advice. See Therapeutic treatment resources for decision trees, tip sheets and report templates.

Intake

Case practitioner tasks for a TTR from anyone other than Police or the Criminal Division of the Children’s Court

  • Follow Therapeutic treatment resources decision trees 1 and 4.
  • Provide information to the reporter about the role of child protection and explain child protection confidentiality protections.

The identity of a reporter making a TTR has the same legal protections as a person making any other type of report.

Identifying Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children who are involved with child protection in Victoria is a practice requirement.

If the reporter (or other source) does not know if a child or sibling is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, the child's Aboriginal status should be recorded as under assessment on the client file (CRIS) and further enquiries made later.

Where either parent identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, the child is to be recorded on CRIS as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, irrespective of whether the other parent or carer identified the child as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

  • their concerns for the child, their siblings and any other children who may have been victimised
  • the grounds for the report and available evidence; and
  • other relevant matters.
  • Determine whether the child meets the criteria for a TTR, that is:
    • the child is 10 years of age or over and under 18 years of age and
    • the person making the report believes on reasonable grounds the child has exhibited sexually abusive behaviours.

If a child and family have previously been referred to a SABTs in a voluntary capacity and have failed to engage, the SABTS will make a report to child protection (either a TTR or a protective intervention report where the child is under 10 years). This report must proceed to protective investigation.

A TTR cannot be accepted if the child is aged under 10 years, or is 18 years or over, even if the sexually abusive behaviour reported to be exhibited by the child occurred before their 18th birthday.

  • Notify Victoria Police of the report by close of business on the day of the report.

Police must advise child protection within three working days if a criminal investigation will be conducted.

  • Consult Aboriginal Child Specialist Advice and Support Service (ACSASS) for an Aboriginal child.
    • Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (Lakidjeka) ACSASS (entire state except for the Mallee area) - (03) 9388 2488
    • Mallee District Aboriginal Services ACSASS (Mallee area only) - 0429223833 (daytime), 0427474863 (after hours)
  • Register the report in CRIS as a TTR.
  • Consider whether to also record a child wellbeing report or a protective intervention report on the subject child or any child victim of the subject child. Where a protective intervention report is initiated, keep Police informed about the investigation of the protective intervention report. Police may be directly involved in the investigation.
  • Consider contacting the SABTs if the child has or is currently engaged in treatment to ascertain the child’s attendance and nature of therapeutic treatment.
  • Develop and record an initial assessment.
  • The TTR must be transferred for investigation. In CRIS, enter ‘therapeutic treatment required’. If a child wellbeing report is also recorded in CRIS, enter ‘Advice/information to reporter – therapeutic treatment required’, or if a protective intervention report is also recorded, in CRIS enter ‘investigation child assessment required – therapeutic treatment required’.
  • Update CRIS, ensuring client information, records of actions, decisions and rationales are recorded.
  • Advise the reporter of the outcome of their report unless this would be contrary to the best interests of a child.

Case practitioner tasks for a TTR from the Police or a referral from the Criminal Division of the Children’s Court

  • Undertake the tasks as above for a TTR from a person in addition to these tasks:
    • Follow Therapeutic treatment resources decision trees 1, 2 and 3.
    • Request information from a Police reporter regarding the circumstances of the behaviour and relevant materials such as the brief of evidence, a summary of charges or summary of circumstances. There may be occasions when the police do not yet have these documents, but child protection can ask for them to be forwarded as soon as they are available. These documents will be required when the child is referred to the TTB for advice.
    • Consider contacting the SABTs if the child has or is currently engaged in treatment to ascertain the child’s attendance and nature of therapeutic treatment.

If there are difficulties in obtaining this information, contact the TTB Secretariat via email to: ttb@dhhs.vic.gov.au.

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