This procedure relates to assessment and treatment of young people by the Male Adolescent Program for Positive Sexuality (MAPPS).


When to use this procedure

When supervising a young person who is required to participate in MAPPS.


What else you need to know


Practice context and legislation

  • Early intervention and treatment of young sex offenders is a vital component of strategies to reduce sexual recidivism.
  • Providing sexual offending intervention during adolescence helps the young person to develop a positive sexual identity and prevents the negative behaviours becoming entrenched.
  • The Male Adolescent Program for Positive Sexuality (MAPPS) is for young people on youth justice orders, aged 10–21 years, who have been found guilty of committing a sexual offence.
  • MAPPS is facilitated by the Youth Health and Rehabilitation Service (YHARS) located at the Parkville Youth Justice Precinct.
  • Based on a cognitive-behavioural model, MAPPS incorporates attitudinal and cognitive restructuring techniques, social skills, relapse prevention, victim awareness and education on sex and sexuality.
  • The key objective of MAPPS is to address the young person's sexual offending behaviour by assisting them to:
    • increase their understanding of themselves and others
    • take responsibility for their actions and choices
    • develop an understanding of the deliberate pattern of their offending
    • develop victim awareness and empathy
    • create a positive lifestyle that does not incorporate offending or abusive relationships.
  • MAPPS also aims to reduce the incidence of sexual abuse in Victoria through the treatment program and educational activities.
  • Young people who participate in MAPPS will typically progress through a five-stage group treatment process over a period of approximately 12 months:
    • assessment – eight weeks
    • basic group – once per week for an average of four months
    • transition (camp) program – three full days, four camp programs held per year
    • advanced group – once per week for an average of three months
    • follow-up and discharge.

Roles and key tasks

Case manager

  • Obtain the young person's consent and submit referral to YHARS.
  • Provide relevant supporting documentation.
  • Consult with MAPPS clinician and invite to any care team meetings.
  • Incorporate MAPPS into assessment, planning and review process.
  • Provide case management and supervision to young person, and implement warning process when required.

Team leader / team manager

  • Provide consultation and supervision to case manager.
  • Consult on dispute resolution where required, and in consultation with the Youth Justice Senior Practice Advisor.

Assistant Director / Manager Individual and Family Support

  • Provide oversight, direction and monitoring of the area youth justice program.
  • Approve attendance at MAPPS camp by signing the 'Approval form: Activities organised and conducted by an external agency' contained in the Guidelines for implementing sporting, recreation and outdoor activities.

Youth Justice Senior Practice Advisor

  • Provide case consultation particularly in relation to high-risk young people. This should occur subject to local area agreements between Assistant Director / Manager Individual and Family Support.

The procedure in detail

Referral to Male Adolescent Program for Positive Sexuality (MAPPS)

All young people on youth justice orders who have been found guilty of committing a sexual offence are to be referred to MAPPS.

Youth justice is responsible for initiating these referrals.

Most young people referred to MAPPS will have a special condition on their youth justice order to undergo treatment in relation to their sexual offending.

However, this is not a requirement for MAPPS assessment and treatment.

All MAPPS referrals are directed centrally to the community senior clinician who will then allocate to relevant clinicians.

Providing information to MAPPS

Documentation may be required by MAPPS to facilitate the assessment process.

Where possible, supporting documents should be attached to the completed referral form submitted by youth justice.

Documents that may be requested are:

  • summary of charges
  • victim statement
  • previous reports including Children's Court Clinic (with permission to release to MAPPS), previous psychiatric or psychological and youth justice pre-sentence reports.

Written consent will be sought from the young person for the use and disclosure of their personal and health information between youth justice and MAPPS.


MAPPS undertakes a specialist, offence-specific assessment of all young people referred to the program and makes recommendations regarding their treatment.

Assessment focuses on:

  • introducing the young person to the MAPPS treatment rationale and objectives
  • developing an understanding of the young person's sexual offending behaviour
  • gathering information about the cognitive, behavioural, affective, interpersonal and situational risk factors that are associated with the young person's offending
  • establishing the current level of risk the young person poses to the community
  • establishing what role, if any, parents/caregivers will have in the treatment process
  • deciding upon the most appropriate form of treatment.

Assessment format (for young people residing in metropolitan regions)

  • four one-hour assessment sessions with a MAPPS clinician, which may involve family members or significant others.

Assessment format for young people residing in areas: Loddon, Mallee, Goulburn, Ovens Murray, Western District, Grampians:

  • two two-hour assessment sessions with a MAPPS clinician, which may involve family members or significant others.

A MAPPS clinician may travel to a rural Department of Human Services office to conduct an assessment if:

  • there are several referred young people requiring assessment, and/or
  • a referred young person's family or financial circumstances make travel difficult.

Any travel conducted by a MAPPS clinician is to occur only following consultation with the youth justice team manager.

Assessment and treatment for young people who have been found guilty of sexual offences, and who reside in Inner or Outer Gippsland areas, are provided by a private psychologist.

MAPPS ensures:

  • referred young people who are serving custodial orders are seen at the respective youth justice custodial centre for assessment
  • consultation during the assessment process with youth justice practitioners and other key stakeholders, where required.

Risk assessment report and treatment plan

MAPPS provides the youth justice worker with a completed risk assessment report (including treatment plan) within eight weeks of receipt of referral.

A risk assessment report is also submitted to the Youth Parole / Residential Board where requested.

Group program

Basic group concentrates on assisting young people to change the way they think and talk about sexual offending.

The primary goal of basic group is for young people to understand how they came to offend and to take responsibility for their offending.

Advanced group focuses on the future, developing healthy relationships and preventing future offending.

It assists young people to develop a belief system conducive to a non-offending life.

Transitions (camp) program

The transitions program provides a short, intense, therapeutic experience, conducted at a wilderness camp (generally scheduled from Thursday to Saturday).

The transitions program marks a shift in the young person's understanding of their offence and their treatment, and of their commitment to the treatment process.

The focus of treatment is on the prevention of relapse into offending.

Camp concludes with a family session, where young people and their family members attend a session immediately after the camp to reflect on the young person's experience and engage families in their treatment.

As per the youth justice Guidelines for implementing sporting, recreation and outdoor activities, it is the responsibility of MAPPS to obtain written consent from the young person or their parent/guardian (where required).

Approval to attend the camp is to be provided by the Assistant Director / Manager Individual and Family Support using the 'Approval form: Activities organised and conducted by an external agency' contained in theGuidelines for implementing sporting, recreation and outdoor activities.

Individual sessions

On occasion, a young person may be assessed as not suitable for group interventions.

The young person may have a disability or other behavioural issues that MAPPS staff believe will be better managed by regular individual treatment sessions.

Individual sessions will include family work as appropriate.

Some young people may engage in individual treatment and family work sessions in addition to the group work.

Individual sessions will be delivered at the MAPPS office in Parkville.

Length of treatment

The length of treatment for each young person will vary between 6–18 months, according to need as well as the young person's attendance and compliance with their youth justice order.

The average length of treatment is 12 months.

Young people also have the option of continuing voluntarily with the program following expiry of their youth justice order if there is an identified need to do so.

MAPPS will work with the young person to engage them in alternative longer-term support as required.

Secondary consultation

MAPPS provides assistance and consultation to youth justice staff to improve their capacity and confidence to understand and respond appropriately to the needs of young people who commit sexual offences.

Rural service provision

Young people who require treatment but live too far from metropolitan Melbourne to attend the YHARS office may be referred by MAPPS to private practitioners, in consultation with Youth Justice.

Funds are available to rural youth justice teams to purchase services on a case-by-case, sessional basis, in consultation with a team leader or supervisor.

Dispute resolution

Attempts to resolve issues relating to the service provision for a young person should, in the first instance, occur between the relevant youth justice case manager (the unit coordinator for young people in custody) and the MAPPS clinician.

If an issue cannot be resolved, it should be referred through the relevant line manager, in consultation with the youth justice senior practice advisor where appropriate.

Progress reports

MAPPS will provide the youth justice case manager with written progress reports every three months throughout a young person's treatment.

These progress reports are to inform youth justice case planning.

MAPPS will provide the Youth Parole Board with progress reports upon request.

Managing non-attendance

MAPPS will notify the allocated youth justice caseworker within 24 hours of a young person failing to attend a scheduled appointment or refusing to participate in treatment.

It is the role of youth justice to support the young person's attendance at MAPPS.

If a young person fails to comply with the requirements of their order, or displays behaviours that cause serious concern, the warning process should be considered in consultation with the team leader.

Completion of treatment

Following completion of treatment, a closure report is provided to the relevant youth justice case manager within two days of closure.


Additional information