This article, arising out of quantitative and qualitative research studies conducted by the authors, begins with a brief overview of current knowledge about male adolescent sexual abusers and associated policies, procedures and services. A particular concern raised by professionals and welfare agencies, who are struggling to develop appropriate responses to young sexual abusers, concerns the circumstances and problems of young people who are placed in residential accommodation as a result of their sexually abusive behaviour, often where there are also child victims of sexual abuse. The vulnerability of young sexual abusers and the risk they pose to others is considered in the light of the findings of qualitative research by one of the authors into the construction and control of children and their sexualities in residential children's homes. This research suggests that the inadequate ways in which sexual behaviour in children's homes is perceived and managed, serves to compound the problems of both the sexually abusive and non-abusive adolescents placed there. The findings from both authors' research are then theorized within broader conceptual frameworks about the nature of childhood, childhood sexuality and institutionalization and its links with peer sexual abuse.