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Preventing and responding to child sexual abuse - learning from best practice in other countries

Summary

We wanted to find out about different approaches to preventing, identifying and responding to child sexual abuse from outside England and Wales.

  • We commissioned the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to undertake a Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) exploring what can be learnt from other countries about the role of institutions in preventing child sexual abuse and exploitation.
  • We invited the authors of the REA report to a seminar where they presented and discussed their findings. The seminar was attended by academics, professionals, practitioners and victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.

 

Key Themes

  • Prevention
  • Identification
  • Response
  • Best practice

Background

  • The scope of the Inquiry covers only England and Wales. However, other countries have adopted a range of different institutional approaches to preventing, identifying and responding to child sexual abuse, and it could potentially be helpful for the Inquiry to know about these.

  • We wanted to find out more about these different approaches and to review the research evidence available on which approaches are effective and what we can learn from other countries about the role of institutions in preventing, identifying and responding to child sexual abuse.

Timeline

April 2017: Rapid evidence assessment (REA) published

April 2017: Seminar was held

July 2018: Seminar update report published

What we have learned

  • None of the countries considered had got everything ‘right’.

  • Overall, the evidence on preventing and responding to all forms of child abuse and neglect is underdeveloped and limited. We know more about what doesn’t work than what does work.

  • To work well, approaches need to have enough resources, be comprehensive and well-coordinated and involve more than one sector. Responses should consider:

    • the diversity of the problem

    • age appropriateness

    • underlying vulnerabilities

    • contexts

Implications for the work of the Inquiry

The REA and seminar provided insights from other jurisdictions into the prevention of, and response to, child sexual abuse. This has helped to inform the Inquiry’s work and identify areas for future consideration.

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