Sexual abuse and therapeutic services for children and young people: the gap between provision and need Research mapping availability and accessibility of services across the UK

Boy sat on stepsChildhood sexual abuse is linked to short- and long-term consequences including mental health problems. Therapeutic services aim to improve outcomes for sexually abused children by reducing the negative impact of the abuse. There is no national picture of what services exist or whether they are meeting local need.

This research, funded by the Private Equity Foundation, mapped the availability of therapeutic services that support children and young people affected by sexual abuse across the UK.

The report includes findings from interviews and focus groups with service managers, commissioners and young people. It includes recommendations for government, commissioners and service providers.

Authors: Debra Allnock with Lisa Bunting, Avril Price, Natalie Morgan-Klein, Jane Ellis, Lorraine Radford and Anne Stafford
Published: 2009

  • The overall level of specialist provision is low.
  • There is a huge gap between the estimated need for services and service availability.
  • Specialist services are not only too few but they are often offered too late.
  • There were few services available for young people who have been raped or seriously sexually assaulted.
  • Services are less accessible for some groups of young people particularly those living in rural areas, from ethnic minorities, or who have disabilities or learning difficulties.
  • There is a lack of information on the need for services and on what services and interventions are effective.
Introduction 1
Literature review 4
Overview of the methodology 36
Identifying the gaps in service provision: mapping the services 49
Service demand and accessibility 63
The nature and availability of therapeutic services 83
Joint working, funding and commissioning arrangements 101
The views of young people 119
Conclusion: policy and practice recommendations 135
Bibliography 141
Appendix 1 150
Appendix 2 162
Appendix 3 164

Please cite as: Allnock, D. et al. (2009) Sexual abuse and therapeutic services for children and young people: the gap between provision and need. London: NSPCC.

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