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.

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