Sexual abuse and therapeutic services for children in Northern Ireland: the gap between provision and need Research mapping availability and accessibility of services

Boy in gardenChildhood 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 Northern Ireland.

The report includes findings from interviews with service providers and commissioners. It identifies a number of issues for further consideration.

Authors: Lisa Bunting, Paulene Anderson and Debbie Allnock
Published: 2010

  • Specialist provision did not cover all geographical regions in Northern Ireland.
  • Over 70 per cent of managers and practitioners reported that they were unable to meet the demand for their service.
  • Services made use of a wide range of therapeutic models and methods, depending on the age and needs of the child. The most common models were cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), creative therapies and family therapy.
  • Almost all services reported routinely working with other services to deliver therapeutic support.
  • Almost all services commented on gaps or limitations in either their own service or provision in the wider catchment areas. People talked about the need for:
    • more services
    • more funding and staffing
    • more specialist training
    • better joined-up working and planning
    • and the development of services for families/carers.
List of figures 4
List of tables 5
Section 1: Introduction 6
Section 2: Policy and service framework in Northern Ireland 8
Section 3: Methodology 17
Section 4: Findings 21
Section 5: Summary of key findings 61
Section 6: Discussion 65
Section 7: Key gaps and recommendations 73
Section 8: References 76

Please cite as: Bunting, L., Anderson, P. and Allnock, D. (2010) Sexual abuse and therapeutic services for children and young people in Northern Ireland: the gap between provision and need. London: NSPCC. 

Related resources

Therapeutic services for sexually abused children and young people: scoping the evidence base

Review of the research that looks at the types of therapies which are effective at helping children who have experienced sexual abuse
Find out more

Sexual abuse and therapeutic services for children and young people: the gap between provision and need

Research report mapping availability and accessibility of services for sexually abused children across the UK.
Find out more

Sexual abuse: a public health challenge

Review of the evidence looks at what we know about the causes, prevalence and consequences of sexual abuse.
Find out more

Estimating the costs of child sexual abuse in the UK

Report using research literature to estimate the overall costs of child sexual abuse in the UK at £3.2bn in 2012.
Find out more

Letting the Future In

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

National Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service (NCATS)

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

Services for children, families and professionals

We work face to face with children, young people and families who need our help across the UK.
View our services

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

Harmful sexual behaviour

Children and young people who develop harmful sexual behaviour harm themselves and others.
Read more about harmful sexual behaviour

Child sexual exploitation

Child sexual exploitation is a type of sexual abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, power or status.
Read more about child sexual exploitation

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.

CASPAR is currently being upgraded but you can still sign up by contacting our Information Service.

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

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.

New in the Library is currently being upgraded but you can still sign up by contacting our Information Service.

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)