This course is designed for professionals working across a range of agencies to gain an overview of the key issues relating to child sexual abuse in the family environment, to better identify and respond to such abuse. Whilst this course has since been delivered widely across England and Wales, this report focusses on pilot delivery online between November 2020 and March 2021 to 490 professionals in three London local authority areas (Ealing, Hackney and Barking and Dagenham) and across Wales.
The report focusses on feedback from the 261 participants who completed an online survey shortly after training. Most of the survey respondents worked in social work/social care, health and education services, including frontline roles as professionals or senior professionals (e.g. as social workers, teachers, nurses or GPs). Fewer than two-thirds of participants had previously received any training in relation to child sexual abuse, with the most frequently cited form of previous training being a brief module within their general training.
The vast majority of respondents said the training had improved their skills, knowledge and understanding in identifying and responding to concerns of child sexual abuse, including a better understanding of the potential signs and indicators of child sexual abuse, knowing how to communicate with children who may have been sexually abused, and of multi-agency partners’ roles and responsibilities. Importantly, they said they intended to change how they worked with children and families because of the training. Three-quarters (n=197) indicated that they would use it ‘a lot’ in their professional role.
“The session allowed me to think about instances and examples of how abuse can often be hidden and 'swept under the rug' due to not wishing to unravel awkward conversations… leaving a child/person at heightened risk.” (Social care and social work, practitioner)
“This training gave me 'time out' of my practice to think and have the space to explore the full extent of child sexual abuse.” (Health, senior practitioner)
“Extremely emotive, but truly necessary to enable me to be a better worker and braver to make a positive difference.” (Social care and social work, practitioner)