Young child sexual abuse (CSA) survivors' perspectives on CSA Prevention Methods

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Sociology & Social Policy


This comparison on child sexual abuse (CSA) survivors' views of CSA prevention methods investigates young CSA survivors' experiences and views on CSA prevention methods. The research also examines how they can be developed to make them more effective, if the CSA survivors deem them ineffective. Survivors' voices steer this research throughout, articulating their experiences through interviews and contributing to the analysis and recommendations for improved prevention methods. CSA is defined by the NSPCC (2019) as when a child is 'forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities. The traumatising effects of experiencing sexual abuse in childhood can have a detrimental and life-changing impact, ranging from increased rates of mental health problems, including suicidal thoughts and self-harm to sometimes becoming abusers themselves (Ryan and Lane 1997). CSA prevention methods with the intention of preventing and stopping abuse include educational books, in-school programmes and social work professionals identifying and working with at risk children. These teach children to recognise sexual abuse and give advice on protecting themselves and disclosing uncomfortable experiences to a trusted adult. For MA dissertation, which received a distinction, I conducted an in-depth analysis of 44 educational books. I am also preparing a paper based on this dissertation for submission to the British Journal of Social Work. Studies often explore how effective CSA prevention methods are, demonstrating that some methods are more effective for some children than others due to age, risk severity and additional factors (Davis and Gidycz, 2000). This demonstrates the need for multiple prevention methods to be implemented to ensure every child is protected. These studies compare rates of abuse cases in schools which use the prevention methods. Young survivor's voices are rarely used in this research, however, with substantially more research exploring the voices of children who have not been abused, parents, abusers or older survivors. This research aims to give survivors of CSA a voice and is vital to access the substantial wealth of knowledge survivors have. The survivors involved in the research will also be advocates of CSA survivors, which will help to provide additional information through their advocacy work with survivors. This research is ground-breaking in heeding the voices of young survivors themselves and garnering their opinions on how current CSA prevention methods may be improved and whether a new survivor-led initiative is required for effective CSA prevention. The researcher's personal experience of being a CSA advocate and working with young CSA survivors provides a grounded context of genuine empathy, necessary knowledge, rapport and reflexivity. The Aim The aim of the research is to develop greater knowledge of CSA prevention methods, to ascertain what survivors believe currently works, for whom and in which circumstances and to elaborate more effective survivor-led prevention methods. Research Questions 1. What are the current strategies to address CSA abuse? o How are they implemented and with whom? 2. What helped stop the abuse survivors experienced? o What else could have been done to stop the abuse? 3. What are CSA survivors' views of CSA prevention methods? o What are the strengths and weaknesses of these prevention methods? 4. How can survivor-led CSA prevention methods be developed? o Can the advocacy work the survivors help develop more effective methods? Sampling Participants will primarily be selected through contacts known to the researcher. Some advocates have already been contacted, with their experiences shaping the direction of this research. There is a willing participatory pool of suitable prospective participants already identified for the interviews. Additional participants will be selected through child welfare and protection charities, with many of which the re


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000746/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2276792 Studentship ES/P000746/1 01/10/2019 01/07/2023 Eleanor Craig