Assessing the risk: protecting the child: evaluation report Evidence from an assessment service for men who pose a sexual risk to children

Boy listening to counsellorThe majority of adults who pose a risk to children are not in the criminal justice system. They are frequently not assessed or subject to any treatment. They are often living with or having contact with children. 

The Assessing the Risk, Protecting the Child service assesses the risk these men pose to children in their own family, or their partner’s family. 

There are 3 reports which summarise findings from interviews with service users, the professionals making the referrals, and the NSPCC practitioners delivering the service. This is part of our Impact and evidence series.

Author: Emma Belton
Published: 2015

Referrers felt:

  • the assessment reports made clear recommendations and included sufficient evidence to explain how the report author came to those conclusions. In some cases they would have welcomed more guidance from the NSPCC on how to implement the recommendations
  • assessments helped children to understand more about what had been happening, and protective parents and carers to understand more about the risks posed by the man; but some families would have benefited from a longer period of input.

Men and protective parents and carers felt:

  • it was hard to see their life history in writing, and in some cases the report was lengthy and hard to digest. Having time with the NSPCC practitioner to discuss the report and give feedback helped, but not everyone felt they'd been given this chance
  • some reports made recommendations about other support or services that would be useful for the men and their families. However, they were not always able to access this support, because of long waiting lists or funding restrictions.

NSPCC practitioners felt:

  • the holistic nature of the assessment process and the fact that it included the perspective of the man who posed a risk to children, as well as those of the protective parent and the child, was beneficial
  • the assessment guide provided a good evidence base for assessing men who pose a risk. However, more practical detail on how to do the assessment and how to use the assessment's findings to make recommendations would have been helpful
  • previous experience of similar assessment work, or support from experienced colleagues and managers was essential to understanding the assessment process and feeling more confident about following it.

This feedback has been used to further develop the assessment guide, assessment reports and service delivery.

"The evidence in the report was a turning point for mum, as she hadn't realised these behaviours the dad was presenting could have possibly been because of his feelings towards young women. It was backed up with evidence that she'd not had before ... she's equipped to look for those types of behaviours in him and be more vigilant if he was to present those behaviours again at home."

Please cite as:

Belton, E. (2015) Assessing the risk: protecting the child: impact and evidence briefing. London: NSPCC.

Belton, E. (2015) Assessing the risk, protecting the child: views of the men and protective parents/carers assessed. London: NSPCC.

Belton, E. (2015) Assessing the risk: protecting the child: referrers’ perspectives. London: NSPCC.

Impact and evidence hub

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

Our impact and evidence

Impact and evidence series

Our evaluation and research reports that look at the impact of our services or summarise the evidence about what works to protect children from abuse and neglect.

Find out more

Looking for something in particular?

Our Information Service can help you find the latest policy, practice and research in child protection.

Call 0808 800 5000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk for more information.

Submit an enquiry

Related resources

Preventing child sexual abuse: towards a national strategy

Why we must take action together to stop child sexual abuse before it occurs. Part of the NSPCC’s Impact and evidence series. 
Find out more

Evaluation of the Letting the Future In service

Findings from the largest randomised controlled trial of a service to help children who have been sexually abused. Part of the NSPCC's Impact and evidence series.
Find out more

Getting help

What children are telling ChildLine about their opinions and wishes for delivery of therapeutic services for sexual abuse.
Find out more

Hidden men: learning from case reviews

Lessons from case reviews published since 2008, where agencies were unaware of men who posed a risk to the child or who could have protected the child.
Find out more

Child sex offender disclosure scheme

NSPCC factsheet explaining the child sex offender disclosure scheme (aka Sarah's Law) in England and Wales, why it was developed and how to use the scheme to access information.
Find out more

Social workers' knowledge and confidence when working with cases of child sexual abuse

Report by Coventry University from research with social workers, managers and LSCB chairs in England exploring issues and challenges.
Find out more

Research and resources

Our research and reports on child sexual abuse and resources for parents and professionals to protect children.
Find research and resources

Assessing the Risk, Protecting the Child

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

Sexual abuse

A child is sexually abused when they are forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities. This doesn't have to be physical contact, and it can happen online.
Read more about sexual abuse

Signs, symptoms and effects of child abuse and neglect

The signs of child abuse aren't always obvious, and a child might not tell anyone what's happening to them. Sometimes children don't understand that what's happening is abuse. 
Find out more

Child abuse and neglect

Find out what child abuse is, how to spot the signs, who is affected and what you should do if you're worried about a child
Learn more

NSPCC helpline

Through the NSPCC helpline, we offer help, advice and support to thousands of parents, professionals and families.
Read about our helplines

CASPAR

Our Current Awareness Service for Practice, Policy And Research delivers free weekly email alerts to keep you up-to-date with all the latest safeguarding and child protection news.

Sign up to CASPAR

Information Service

Our free service for people who work with children can help you find the latest policy, practice, research and news on child protection and related subjects.

For more information, call us or email help@nspcc.org.uk.

0808 800 5000

Submit an enquiry

Support our research

Research like this helps keep children safe from abuse – but we can’t do it without our generous supporters. 

Donate now

Follow @NSPCCpro

Follow us on Twitter and keep up-to-date with all the latest news in child protection.

Follow @NSPCCpro on Twitter

Library catalogue

We hold the UK's largest collection of child protection resources and the only UK database specialising in published material on child protection, child abuse and child neglect.

Search the library

New in the Library

A free weekly email listing all of the new child protection publications added to our library collection.

Sign up to New in the Library

Helping you keep children safe

Read our guide for professionals on what we do and the ways we can work with you to protect children and prevent abuse and neglect.

Read our guide (PDF)

Impact and evidence hub

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

Our impact and evidence

Get expert training and consultancy

Grow your child protection knowledge and skills with CPD certified courses delivered by our experts nationwide and online.
Get expert training

Sharing knowledge to keep children safe

Read our guide to NSPCC Knowledge and Information Services to find out how we can help you with child protection queries, support your research, and help you learn and develop.

Read our guide (PDF)