Gaining insights from practice
Research into how professionals identify, respond to, record and report child sexual abuse can have a major impact on current understanding of the scale and nature of abuse, and the way in which services are organised and resources prioritised
To understand what data tells us about child sexual abuse (CSA), we need to understand how data on CSA is generated. Building on our work exploring current trends and variations in official data on CSA, the CSA Centre and the Welsh Government commissioned a study to build a better understanding of the scale of CSA encountered by local authority children’s services.
It remains the case that most CSA is neither reported nor identified during childhood and so will not appear in official agency data. However, the extent to which agencies recognise, respond to and record concerns of CSA is important.
This study highlights significant issues, which we believe have a major impact on current understandings of the scale and nature of abuse, and the way in which services are organised and resources prioritised. Most importantly, they are likely to have a profound impact on the level and quality of support that many sexually abused children receive from local services. Significantly, our wider research and practice activities and discussions with relevant policymakers and professionals confirm that the issues identified are far from unique to Wales, and the findings will be equally relevant to those leading CSA policy and practice in England…