While practice in this area can feel complex, there is so much that social workers can do to make a real difference to the longer term outcomes for children affected by sexual abuse.  The Practice Leads’ Programme is an intensive CSA Centre programme to help ‘lead workers’ in Children’s Services to further develop their understanding and confidence around child sexual abuse. 

Through formal teaching and reflective learning groups, the programme also aims to support lead workers to transfer their knowledge within their organisations to improve understanding and use of evidence on CSA.  The Practice Lead’s Programme facilitates local authorities to develop an internal culture of learning and development which supports ongoing good practice in this field. 

We are currently piloting the programme in 3 Local Authorities and 1 third sector organisation, which will be evaluated in order to inform future developments.

Topics covered on the pilot programme in local authorities

  • The scale, nature and impact of child sexual abuse
  • The disclosure process and the social work role
  • Intra-familial child sexual abuse
  • Offenders and offending
  • Working with non-abusing parents/carers
  • Children and young people who have sexually harmed
  • Female perpetration of sexual abuse
  • Online offending
  • Child sexual exploitation
  • Child wellbeing and the child protection process

Topics covered on the third sector pilot programme (with Change Grow Live)

  • The scale, nature and impact of child sexual abuse
  • The links between child sexual abuse and substance misuse
  • The disclosure process, barriers and enablers
  • The application of theory to understand how sexual abuse takes place, reducing risk and building strengths
  • Working effectively with adult survivors of child sexual abuse
  • Applying the learning within participants’ own practice, teams and wider organisation

Feedback on the pilot programme

 “[Participant] delivered training at a combined team meeting with the purpose to deliver the training around CSA and share tools from the programme.  It was a really good training and there were lots of questions afterwards.  It was very well received” (Line manager of a participant – Cambridge)

“I feel a lot more confident in naming my concerns about CSA and evidencing why I feel a case needs to be considered in further detail. It has also challenged my practice and some of my assumptions in a helpful way”.  (Participant – Cambridge)

“The programme has been an eye-opener and very beneficial in my practice. The course content is being delivered in very creative ways that allow me to learn and reflect. I have gained so much information on the nature and scale of sexual abuse and reflected on my role and been empowered regarding my work with children and their families. I have been able to learn from others about being curious, observing and identifying signs of abuse and be able to have appropriate discussions and use the correct language. The course has enabled me to be able to take a systemic view of sexual abuse and think outside the box whilst being able to protect children from harm.”  (Participant – Devon)

 “I have found the course incredibly useful and thought provoking and I feel it has absolutely enhanced my practice.” (Participant – Cambridge)

“I’ve learnt lots of new information and have shared tools such as the Brook Traffic Light Tool and Understanding Childrens Sexual Behaviour with Child and Family Centre staff and some Early Years settings to support their practice. Also myself and 2 other colleagues (attending the training) are going to be planning sessions to deliver to our district teams to ensure messages learned are spread widely.” (Participant - Cambridge)

“I think that the way the course has been presented and the content has been extremely helpful to my practice. I work with newly qualified social workers and I have used some of the information learnt in supervision with them; for example on assessing perpetrators and non-abusing partners. I will present to the team meeting in April and plan to then present at a Locality Meeting. Invaluable learning” (Participant – Devon)