Turn the Page Evidence, impact and evaluation

We’ve developed Turn the Page, the only manual-based intervention for adolescents with harmful sexual behaviour in the UK. Early findings provide promising evidence that Turn the Page can help some young people to understand and manage their own harmful sexual behaviour.

How harmful sexual behaviour affects children

Around one third of sexual abuse is committed by children and young people (Hackett, 2014).

Children who sexually harm others have often suffered abuse and neglect themselves. They need intensive therapy to overcome their experiences and change their behaviour. There is a serious shortfall in both assessment and treatment facilities for the most serious young offenders, and little research on what treatment approaches are effective.

Without help, some of these young people will become adult offenders.

Read more about harmful sexual behaviour.

How Turn the Page is helping prevent child abuse and neglect

Turn the Page helps young people change their behaviours by identifying and managing their thoughts, emotions and actions.

It is underpinned by a cognitive behavioural approach and draws on attachment theory, mentalisation theory, psychodynamic and systems theories.

Turn the Page aims to help young people:

  • increase their socially acceptable behaviour (sexual and non-sexual) and refrain from sexually harmful behaviour
  • improve their psychological functioning, optimism about the future and their sense of well-being.

It uses a practice guide called 'Change for good' which was written by us with Eamon McCrory  from the University College London and Anna Freud Centre (McCrory, 2011).

How we're evaluating this service

We have been assessing Turn the Page in 11 UK locations since 2011. This innovative service aims to help young people how have sexually harmed others to learn about healthy relationships.

We're carrying out a process evaluation to understand:

  • how the service is delivered
  • the content of the intervention work carried out with children and young people
  • the views of the practitioners.

Information on the needs of the children and young people is also gathered using standardised measures during the assessment.

The biggest challenge was the low consent rate from children or young people and their parents or carers to take part in the evaluation. Discussions with service delivery teams suggested this was due to:

  • the design of the initial consent procedure
  • the vulnerability of the children and young people being assessed
  • practitioners not understanding the aims and importance of the evaluation.

So we:

  • changed the consent process to more accurately meet service users' needs
  • simplified the evaluation
  • re-trained practitioners to improve their understanding of the evaluation
  • produced guidance to help practitioners talk about the evaluation with service users.

There was also limited completion of checklists by practitioners to describe the assessment and intervention work being carried out under this service. We used the information that has been collected to develop a set of interview questions for children's service practitioners and team managers. These interviews were designed to gain further, in-depth information on service delivery, the content of intervention and practitioner's experiences of implementing this programme.

The evaluation is being carried out internally by the NSPCC’s evaluation department. It uses the following tools:

  • Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (child/young person’s trauma needs)
  • Trauma Symptom Checklist for Young Children (child’s trauma needs)
  • Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (child/young person’s strengths and difficulties)
  • Child Sexual Behaviour Inventory (child’s sexual behaviour)
  • Adolescent Sexual Behaviour Inventory (young person’s sexual behaviour).

Find out more about the tools used to measure outcomes

Contact Vicki Jackson to find out more.

What we've learnt so far

Our early findings provide promising evidence that Turn the Page can help some young people to understand and manage their own harmful sexual behaviour.

Read the interim evaluation.

What we're doing next

Further evaluations will provide more insight into how much young people's behaviour changed following the programme, and whether these changes were sustained in the longer term.

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

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References

  1. Hackett, S. (2014) Children and young people with harmful sexual behaviours: Research Review. Dartington: Research in Practice.

  2. McCrory, E. and Walker-Rhymes, P. (ill.) (2011) A treatment manual for adolescents displaying harmful sexual behaviour: change for good. London: Jessica Kingsley.