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Services for young people who sexually abuse

Hackett, Simon, Masson, Helen and Phillips, Sarah (2005) Services for young people who sexually abuse. Project Report. Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, England.

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    Abstract

    Aim
    The overall aim of this study was to investigate recent developments in the UK
    and Republic of Ireland in services for young people who have demonstrated
    sexually abusive behaviour, including their organisational, theoretical and policy bases,
    and to explore the experiences of young people and their families who are receiving
    such services.
    Rationale
    It has been recognised that sexual abuse perpetrated by young people constitutes a
    significant proportion of all sexual abuse committed in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
    For example, the most recently available criminal statistics indicate that 17% of all
    Cautions and convictions for sexual offences in England and Wales in the year 2001
    related to young people under the age of 18 (Home Office, 2002).
    Nevertheless, services designed to respond to such groups of young people are in their
    relative infancy, with previous research highlighting the problematic nature of their
    piecemeal development (Masson, 1997 and 1998). There has been little overall sense of
    the range of services being offered in the UK to different populations of young people
    with sexually abusive behaviour across both the child welfare and Criminal Justice
    System. While something of a ‘treatment’ orthodoxy has developed more broadly in the
    adult sex offender field (Hackett, 2000), there have been few previous concerted
    attempts to understand the development and current ‘landscape’ of services in the
    adolescent field. In addition, there has been little, if any, published research into the
    experiences and views of young people and their families who receive such services.
    There is, therefore, an urgent need for research to fill these gaps in the current
    knowledge base.
    In order to meet the overall goal set out above, the current study has gathered data on
    the nature of service provision, policy and practice relating to young people with
    sexually abusive and harmful behaviour across England, Wales, Scotland, Northern
    Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In this way, the current study has sought to form
    the most comprehensive review of the field undertaken, to date, in the UK and Republic
    of Ireland.
    The process
    After an initial analysis of the available literature, the following five-stage process was
    used to meet the objectives of the study.
    First, a survey was undertaken to collect the views and opinions of key experts (n=78)
    working in the field on the nature of effective intervention or ‘treatment’ with this group
    of young people. Using the Delphi method, it was possible to identify levels of
    consensus about the orientation and principles of this work, its core goals, components
    and theoretical basis. Second, a further Delphi study, focusing on structural and management issues in this
    area of practice, was undertaken with managers of services working with young people
    who have sexually abused (n=65).
    Third, a comprehensive ‘mapping’ survey relating to services for young people who
    have demonstrated sexually abusive behaviour and their families (n=186) was
    undertaken, collecting data on the nature of each service, its users, practices, policies
    and procedures.
    Fourth, an analysis of available policy documents (n=43) on the subject of children
    and young people who have sexually abused was undertaken. Local area child
    protection committee (ACPC) procedures and guidance documents, children’s services
    plans, ACPC annual reports, and youth offending team (YOT) protocols were analysed
    as to their usefulness and comprehensiveness in dealing effectively with this issue.
    Fifth, a small-scale qualitative study of service-user perspectives (n=23) from a
    variety of sites across the UK and Northern Ireland collected users’ views and opinions
    about the professional systems which have been involved in their lives in the aftermath
    of sexually abusive behaviour.
    The findings from each of these five research elements are reported within separate
    chapters in this report, together with a fuller description of the methodology used in
    each case.
    The researchers
    The research was conducted by Simon Hackett of the University of Durham and Dr
    Helen Masson of the University of Huddersfield over two years ending in October
    2003. In order to meet the research objectives, Sarah Phillips was employed as Research
    Associate for the project and was based at the University of Durham. Although Simon
    was Principal Investigator, all three members of the research team worked closely
    together on all aspects of the study, including preparation, the development of research
    tools and questionnaires, data analysis and the preparation of reports.
    Project Advisory Group
    The project team was greatly assisted by the Project Advisory Group, which was made
    up of senior representatives from the funding bodies, experts from the field across the
    various geographical areas, and independent academic researchers. The Project
    Advisory Group met on three occasions, once via a tele-conference. The group advised
    on the development of the research tools and methodology, and were given regular
    progress reports. Members of the advisory group are listed in Appendix 1.

    Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
    Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
    H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
    Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
    School of Human and Health Sciences > Centre for Applied Childhood Studies
    Related URLs:
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    Depositing User: Sara Taylor
    Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2008 15:20
    Last Modified: 18 Jul 2012 16:30
    URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/677

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