The use of tools and checklists to assess risk of child sexual exploitation

A number of tools and checklists have been developed in the last five to 10 years, and are now widely used, to identify young people at risk of child sexual exploitation (CSE). Research in 2016 identified many issues with these tools, including a lack of consistency in the risk indicators featured in different tools, and varying thresholds for being identified as a potential victim of CSE.

In early 2017, we commissioned an exploratory study to build on this research, exploring the purposes for which tools and checklists are used and the ways in which they do or do not support good practice in the developing field of CSE prevention.

Exploratory study by Sarah Brown, Geraldine Brady, Anita Franklin and Rebecca Crookes, Coventry University

Featuring findings from an online survey and extracts from interviews with professionals in social care, policing, health care, youth justice and other fields, this report on the study’s findings examines how and when tools and checklists for risk assessment are used, reveals the value attached to them by professionals, and identifies variations in practice.

The report also makes recommendations for the development and use of tools and checklists, including the encouragement of professional judgement, the need to clarify whether individual tools are designed for screening or comprehensive assessment, and the separation of indicators of actual harm from those indicating potential risk of harm.

Exploratory Study (PDF, 1.6 MB)

Infographics: The use of tools and checklists to assess risk of child sexual exploitation

At-a-glance summaries of findings and recommendations from the exploratory study.

Infographic - What do professionals think? (PDF, 0.5 MB)

Infographic - Seven Principles (PDF, 0.9 MB)