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Evidence scopes

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Workforce perspectives on harmful sexual behaviour: Research Report (open access)

Published: Jul 2017

Workforce perspectives on harmful sexual behaviour: Research Report (open access)

This open access report, published in partnership with the National Children’s Bureau, outlines findings from a national survey of over 500 professionals combined with local research. This is the seventh research project undertaken by the Local Authorities Research Consortium (LARC).

The report examines the current knowledge, skills and confidence of the children’s workforce in relation to working with children and young people who are displaying Harmful Sexual Behaviour (HSB). It highlights some of the challenges, what works well to develop capabilities, and what further support may be needed.

Aimed at: Managers across the multi-agency partnership, in particular those with a role in workforce development.

This PDF download is an open access resource.

The impacts of abuse and neglect on children; and comparison of different placement options: Evidence Review (open access)

Published: Mar 2017

The impacts of abuse and neglect on children; and comparison of different placement options: Evidence Review (open access)

Commissioned by the Department for Education and developed by Research in Practice, this open access paper reviews research on the impacts of abuse and neglect and the strengths and weaknesses of care placement options. It is intended to support local authority and judicial decision-makers to develop a shared understanding of research and make decisions that lead to stable and positive placements for children and young people.

Aimed at: All those involved in family court work, care planning and placement decisions.

Number of pages: 113

This PDF download is an open access resource.
Child neglect and its relationship to sexual harm and abuse: responding effectively to children's needs (Updated)

Published: Nov 2016

Child neglect and its relationship to sexual harm and abuse: responding effectively to children's needs (Updated)

This series of open access evidence scopes considers the potential relationship between neglect and forms of sexual harm and abuse: child sexual exploitation; intra-familial child sexual abuse; and harmful sexual behaviours. These different types of harm rarely exist in isolation; children need support at earlier stages - and more holistically - if we are to address their vulnerabilities and help them to achieve positive outcomes. The scopes, commissioned by Action for Children and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) with Research in Practice, examine relatively new and emerging evidence bases to outline the characteristics and prevalence of these different forms of sexual harm and identify how they may relate to neglect. They offer conceptual models for understanding how neglect can interact with and increase vulnerability to various forms of sexual harm and abuse, as well as considering gaps in the existing knowledge base.

Each resource draws out the key messages, themes and implications for practice and policy. Rather than offering simplistic messages or assuming causality, they encourage sector leaders and practitioners to critically reflect on the evidence, to explore how this relates to their own experience and to engage with the complexity of these topics.

Aimed at: Practitioners, managers, local service leaders and commissioners, local and national policy makers.

Number of pages: 137
Preview available.

The three Evidence Scopes, Executive Summary, Appendices and References are available now to download below.


These PDF downloads are open access resources.
Regarding the use of practice observation methods as part of the assessment of social work practice: Evidence Scope (2015)

Published: Nov 2015

Regarding the use of practice observation methods as part of the assessment of social work practice: Evidence Scope (2015)

This evidence scope, a collaborative effort by Sussex University and Research in Practice, was undertaken to support the thinking of colleagues within Department for Education, KPMG and their consortium partners in developing an accreditation framework for children’s social work.

It is not a systematic review. It is a rapid scope of the research relating to practice observation methods, in social work and also in other relevant professions. A 10-page Executive Summary is also available.

Aimed at: social care practitioners, managers, educators.

Number of pages: 77

This PDF download is an open access resource.
Executive summary: Regarding the use of practice observation methods as part of the assessment of social work practice:  Evidence Scope (2015)

Published: Nov 2015

Executive summary: Regarding the use of practice observation methods as part of the assessment of social work practice: Evidence Scope (2015)

This is the executive summary of the full evidence scope: a collaborative effort by Sussex University and Research in Practice, was undertaken to support the thinking of colleagues within Department for Education, KPMG and their consortium partners in developing an accreditation framework for children’s social work.

It is not a systematic review. It is a rapid scope of the research relating to practice observation methods, in social work and also in other relevant professions.

Aimed at: social care practitioners, managers, educators.

Number of pages: 10

This PDF download is an open access resource.
Working effectively to address Child Sexual Exploitation: Evidence Scope (2015)

Published: Sep 2015

Working effectively to address Child Sexual Exploitation: Evidence Scope (2015)

This evidence scope is being reviewed and updated to reflect new research evidence and practice wisdom. The revised version will be published shortly.
Working effectively to address Child Sexual Exploitation: A briefing (2015)

Published: Sep 2015

Working effectively to address Child Sexual Exploitation: A briefing (2015)

This briefing aims to support colleagues in building an understanding of the barriers to dealing with CSE and the approaches and interventions that can make a difference to young people.

It summarises messages from the related evidence scope to give an overview of the different models of CSE, how risks and needs are identified and assessed, and what interventions appear to be most promising.

Six key principles for service design and practice development are offered for consideration. These highlight the importance of young-person-centred practice and participatory approaches, consider what might be most effective in terms of early help and education, and focus on the critical issue of how to ensure multi-agency working, and what support the workforce needs.

This resource, produced by Research in Practice, was commissioned by Wigan and Rochdale councils as part of the Greater Manchester project on Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), funded by the Department for Education Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme.

Please note. This resource was first published in September 2015. Please note that in 2017 the government issued an updated definition of child sexual exploitation to be used for the purposes of the statutory Working Together guidance. The new definition states that:

Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology. (Department for Education, 2017)

This new guidance was commissioned by the Department for Education and is based on a review of the evidence by the University of Bedfordshire and Research in Practice. The extended text is available as an open access resource - www.rip.org.uk/cse-practice-tool

The document should be read in conjunction with Working together to safeguard children: A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, which provides the statutory framework for responding to child sexual exploitation and all other forms of abuse - www.bit.do/working-together

Aimed at: All social care practitioners.

Number of pages: 13

This PDF download is an open access resource.

Structure and culture in children’s social care – Identifying options for changing the model of social work: Evidence Scope (2015)

Published: Sep 2015

Structure and culture in children’s social care – Identifying options for changing the model of social work: Evidence Scope (2015)

A nationwide factor affecting organisations’ ability to improve practice is recruitment and retention of experienced social workers, especially in the field of child protection and family support for children in need. A recent Research in Practice briefing identified “push” factors that can lead to social workers leaving their employer.

This evidence scope sets out evidence for organisational changes to counteract some of these "push" factors, and to help social workers to focus on core elements of working with families: critical analysis in assessment; building relationship-based practice with children and families.

The requirement to have these skills is now embodied within the Knowledge and Skills Statement for child and family social work. Local authorities will need to shape their organisations to allow social workers to develop and make use of these skills.

Aimed at: Senior Social Work Managers, Decision-makers

Number of pages: 23
Impact of the Family Justice Reforms on Front-Line Practice Phase Two: Special Guardianship Orders (2015)

Published: May 2015

Impact of the Family Justice Reforms on Front-Line Practice Phase Two: Special Guardianship Orders (2015)

In recent years there has been an increased use of Special Guardianship Orders (SGOs), with SGOs being used in a wider range of circumstances than was originally intended. This report draws on interviews with professionals in six local authorities. It focuses on changes in local authority and Cafcass professionals' perspectives of how SGOs are being used since the family justice reforms and recent court judgements compared to previously.

Aimed at: All social care practitioners.

Number of pages: 32

This PDF download is an open access resource.
Impact of the Family Justice Reforms on Front-Line Practice Phase One: The Public Law Outline (2015)

Published: May 2015

Impact of the Family Justice Reforms on Front-Line Practice Phase One: The Public Law Outline (2015)

The Children and Families Act came into force in April 2014, introducing wide-ranging reforms to the Family Justice System. At the heart of public family law reform was a revised Public Law Outline (PLO), which introduced a 26-week timeframe for completing care proceedings. This report draws on the views and experiences of professionals in six local authorities, focusing on the impact of the family justice reforms and recent court judgements on local authority practice. It provides evidence on the positive changes that have come about as a result of the reforms, as well as the challenges in implementing the revised PLO.

Aimed at: All social care practitioners.

Number of pages: 41

This PDF download is an open access resource.
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