There is no single definition for why a juvenile or child engages in inappropriate sexual behavior. Definitions run from the general to the highly specific, but in general the definitions are that (1) such behavior is developmentally inappropriate or (2) potentially harmful to the individual(s) impacted. However, many other factors should be considered: ages of those involved, age difference of no more than five years, developmental ages, impact on the child/juvenile affected, frequency of the behavior, whether force or coercion is used, and is non-mutual.
The most specific definition of PSB-CY for the military services was in the DoDI 6400-01 Family Advocacy Program (FAP) dated May 1, 2019 and was repeated in the Secretary of the Army Direction 2021-27 Installation Response to Problematic Sexual Behavior in Children and Youth dated June 7, 2021.
For the purpose of this directive, PSB-CY is defined as behaviors initiated by children and youth under the age of 18 that involve sexual body parts (genitals, anus, buttocks, or breasts) in a manner that deviates from normative or typical sexual behavior and are developmentally inappropriate or potentially harmful to the individual initiating the behavior, the individual(s) impacted by the behavior, or others. Sexual behaviors initiated by a child or youth under the age of 18 are more likely to deviate from normative or typical sexual behavior and be developmentally inappropriate and/or potentially harmful when they are characterized by one or more of the following: