As well as our work supporting services to evaluate their work and further understand effectivenedd, through our Evaluation Fund and our Measuring your effectiveness practical evaluation guide we have continued our programme of research through:

  • A knowledge review;
  • A survey of service providers, to better understand their services and the children and young people they worked with;
  • Additional work to explore the perspectives of children and young people with learning difficulties or experience of being in care.


Effectiveness of services for sexually abused children and young people: research programme briefing

This briefing paper brings together key findings from a suite of three studies carried out as part of our ‘Understanding Effectiveness’ programme of research, which built on our previous work in order to:

  • improve understanding of the effectiveness of services responding to CSA;
  • suggest how the CSA Centre can further contribute to this.

In this paper we set out the origins of the Understanding Effectiveness programme, draw out key insights from across the three reports, and propose next steps.

Download the briefing paper (English, 1 MB)

Download the briefing paper (Welsh, 1 MB)


A knowledge review

Di McNeish, Liz Kelly and Sara Scott

The knowledge review was undertaken by DMSS Research in partnership with the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit, London Metropolitan University, between July and December 2018. It involved four phases of work:

  • a rapid review of the literature, to highlight what published evidence does and does not tell us about service provision, and to establish what evaluations had already been conducted;
  • ‘key informant’ interviews with 13 individuals identified for their practice and research experience and expertise;
  • three focus groups bringing together practitioners, policymakers and commissioners;
  • site visits to 12 CSA services across England and Wales, incorporating interviews with managers, staff and young people who used the services.

Drawing on this work, the report outlines the current landscape of service provision, identifies core elements of effective practice in the field, and outlines the implications for the feasibility of multi-service evaluation.

Download the knowledge review report (1.75 MB)


A survey of service providers

Diana Parkinson and Rosaline Sullivan

The report sets out the findings from an online survey of 50 organisations that were:

  • providing specific support to children and young people at risk of CSA or having experienced CSA, or
  • specifically targeting CSA, including child sexual exploitation, sometimes alongside wider services.

It asked them about the type of services they delivered, the children and young people they worked with, the aspects of service delivery that they considered to be most effective, the challenges they faced and the way they evaluated their services.

Download the survey of service providers report (2.82 MB)


Perspectives of service users with learning difficulties or experience of care

Anita Franklin, Louise Bradley and Geraldine Brady

This study was undertaken by researchers from Coventry University. They interviewed 10 young people with learning difficulties and a further 10 young people with experience of being in care; all had accessed CSA support services, and were recruited by the providers of those services for this research.

Download the perspectives of service users with learning difficulties or experience of care report (819 KB)