NCATs- Evidence, impact and evaluation At a glance

The National Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service (NCATS) works with children and young people who display harmful sexual behaviour. Evidence from the service continues to influence policy and practice in the field.

How harmful sexual behaviour affects children

Around one third of sexual abuse is committed by children and young people (Hackett, 2014).

Children who sexually harm others have often suffered abuse and neglect themselves. They need intensive therapy to overcome their experiences and change their behaviour. There is a serious shortfall in both assessment and treatment facilities for the most serious young offenders, and little research on what treatment approaches are effective.

Without help, some of these young people will become adult offenders.

Read more about harmful sexual behaviour.

How NCATS is helping prevent child abuse and neglect

Service provision for children and young people with harmful sexual behaviour is patchy across the UK. There is, in particular, a shortage of assessment and treatment provision for the children and young people who are displaying some of the most serious behaviour.

The National Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service is a national centre of expertise that has developed a model and approach for working with children in this area.

The knowledge and experience NCATS has gained are being used to improve the assessment and treatment of harmful sexual behaviour through training, consultancy and the development of a treatment manual.

How we're evaluating this service

The evaluation of NCATS is using a range of standardised psychometric measures before and at the end of the programme.

The evaluation has recently begun and progress will be monitored as data is collected.

This evaluation uses the following tools:

  • Trauma Symptom Checklist and Trauma Symptom Checklist for Young Children
  • Sexual Behaviour Inventory
  • Child Sexual Behaviour Inventory
  • Adolescent Clinical Sexual Behaviour Inventory
  • Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire
  • Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale
  • Goal-Based Outcome
  • Session by Session rating scales
  • CHI Experience of Service Questionnaire (CHI-ESQ)

Find out more about the tools we use to measure outcomes

Contact Matt Barnard for more information.

What we've learnt so far

Evidence from NCATS has been used to develop the practice guide 'Change for Good' (McCrory, 2011), a treatment manual for adolescents displaying harmful sexual behaviour.

'Change for Good' is being evaluated as part of our evaluation of Turn the Page.

What we're doing next

The NCATS team continues to learn and influence practice around effective treatments for children and young people with harmful sexual behaviour.

Impact and evidence

Find out how we evaluate and research the impact we’re making in protecting children, get tips and tools for researchers and access resources.
Impact and evidence

Donate now

Last year a third of all calls to our helpline were about neglect, a figure that's even higher at Christmas. Donate now and help shine a light on children left in the dark.

Donate now

Sexual abuse services

Letting the Future In

Letting the Future In helps children who have been sexually abused.
Letting the Future In service

Hear and Now

Hear and Now helps children who may have been sexually abused through weekly sessions which aim to help children talk about their experiences.
Hear and Now service

Turn the Page

We protect children from the most common type of contact sexual abuse.
Turn the Page service

Protect and Respect

For young people who are vulnerable to sexual exploitation or who have been sexually exploited.
Protect and Respect service

Women as Protectors

Helping mums and carers who are in contact with a man who poses a risk of sexual harm to children.
Women as Protectors service

National Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service (NCATS)

Treating young high risk people who show the most serious kinds of harmful sexual behaviour.
NCATS - National Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service

Assessing the Risk, Protecting the Child

We assess and work with adults to reduce the risk of child sexual abuse.
Assessing the Risk service


  1. Hackett, S. (2014) Children and young people with harmful sexual behaviours: Research Review. Dartington: Research in Practice.