Towards safer organisations II What convicted sex offenders told us about organisational safeguarding of children

Boy standing against garageThis report presents the findings of interviews with adults who sexually abused children or young people whilst working in organisational positions of trust.

The research identifies individual and organisational factors that facilitated the abuse and presents practice and policy recommendations to improve prevention.

Authors:  Marcus Erooga, Debra Allnock and Paula Telford
Published: 2012

The research interviewed adults convicted of sexually abusing children or young people in their care.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 27 adults (24 male, 3 female) convicted of sexual offences against children whilst in positions of trust. The participants were from prisons or from probation and volunteered to participate in the research.

The study aimed to:

  • identify organisational risk factors
  • identify how these adults were able to become involved with organisations that work with children and young people
  • propose good practice in recruitment and within work settings with children and young people in order to better safeguard children against abuse and exploitation.

The findings suggest that rigorous vetting and screening is not enough to protect children from sexual abuse.

There also needs to be an organisational culture where: the welfare of the child is paramount; there is an awareness of what is inappropriate and abusive behaviour; there are clear and accessible routes for colleagues to express concerns.

Executive Summary 7
Chapter 1: Introduction and policy background 15
Chapter 2 Setting the scene: what we know about offenders in positions of trust, their behaviours and organisational settings where abuse occurs 22
Chapter 3: Research Methodology 34
Chapter 4: Results – Sample size and characteristics 42
Chapter 5: Findings: Facilitating Factors 50
Chapter 6: Organisational facilitating factors 67
Chapter 7: Discussion – a way forward? 80
Chapter 8: Conclusions, Issues for Consideration and Recommendations 83
Appendices 87
References 90

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