Therapeutic services for sexually abused children and young people: scoping the evidence base Research into the effectiveness of therapeutic support
Research suggests that a large minority of children and young people under the age of 18 may experience sexual abuse. Sexual abuse has different consequences for different people but many would benefit from therapeutic support to help them build resilience to the short and longer-term impacts of abuse.
This report looks at the evidence on the effectiveness of different therapeutic approaches for sexually abused children and young people. It looks at the impact of abuse, factors that can help build resilience, and what young people say about therapy. It identifies key issues to be considered when developing a therapeutic service for sexually abused children.
It builds upon the evidence gathered by our mapping study, published in 2 earlier reports, which looked at what therapeutic services are available to children in the UK and Northern Ireland specifically.
The findings from this research have fed into a guide for therapeutic practitioners being used and evaluated by our Letting the Future In service.
Authors: Debra Allnock and Patricia Hynes
- Research shows that sexual abuse can affect children and young people in many different ways.
- There is limited hard evidence on the effectiveness of different therapeutic approaches.
- Therapy in general has been found to be beneficial for some sexually abused children and young people.
- Evidence suggests that what is important is:
- a high quality assessment to help practitioners to develop appropriate and targeted treatment plans for each child
- a child-centric and integrative approach, focused on the child’s needs and preferences
- a strong therapeutic alliance between the child and the therapist
- the involvement of the non-abusing parent
- culturally-aware and tailored services that meet the cultural context and world view of children from different communities.
|1. Introduction and background||8|
|2. The impacts of sexual abuse||11|
|3. Resilience factors||21|
|4. Therapeutic interventions||25|
|5. What children and young people say about therapy||37|
Please cite as: Allnock, D. and Hynes, P. (2012) Therapeutic services for sexually abused children and young people: scoping the evidence base: summary report. London: NSPCC.
Sexual abuse and therapeutic services for children and young people: the gap between provision and need
Sexual abuse and therapeutic services for children in Northern Ireland: the gap between provision and need
Estimating the costs of child sexual abuse in the UK
Sexual abuse: a public health challenge
Letting the Future In
Turn the Page
Protect and Respect
National Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service (NCATS)
Services for children, families and professionals
Harmful sexual behaviour
Child sexual exploitation
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.
Follow us on Twitter and keep up-to-date with all the latest news in child protection.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Get expert training and consultancy
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.