The CSA Centre’s new Advisors for Wales, Nici Evans and Mark Vaughan, introduce themselves and set out their vision for improving practice and increasing access to evidence around child sexual abuse in Wales.
You will know that Matthew Sedgebeer left his post as the Wales CSA Centre Advisor at the end of September, leaving big shoes to fill. His hard work with partners and key stakeholders in Wales over the past 3 years enabled the CSA Centre to influence the development of the Wales National Action Plan Preventing and Responding to Child Sexual Abuse and the Child Sexual Exploitation Knowledge Hub with Cardiff University, which will be a useful and easily accessible resource for practitioners. It is a very exciting time to be joining the team and to be exploring opportunities to help bridge the gap between research and practice related to child sexual abuse in Wales.
A new beginning
We were recently appointed as the new Wales Advisors to the Centre of expertise on child sexual abuse (CSA Centre) at a time where organisations and services alike will be developing their local child sexual abuse action plans across Wales. Mark is a former police officer with extensive experience in public protection and safeguarding, whilst Nici is a registered nurse who has been working in a partnership role across health, council and police for the past 12 years. She has been leading the agenda on addressing exploitation and developing services with the Cardiff Public Service Board to improve outcomes for vulnerable individuals and families affected by sex work and modern slavery. We are job-sharing which allows us to combine our years of experience and working knowledge across different sectors in order to maximise our reach and impact across Wales.
There is a great deal of work to be done as work begins in Wales to respond to and implement the new national child sexual abuse action plan, but we are ready to pick up where Matthew left off! The focus of our work over the coming months is going to be centred on working with key stakeholders across Wales to deliver the following objectives from the national plan: –
Objective 1: Challenging public attitudes towards child sexual abuse and supporting a culture where talking about child sexual abuse is not seen as a taboo subject in a way that can be exploited by perpetrators
Objective 7: Practitioners have access to resources and training to equip them to provide effective, timely and appropriate responses to children at risk of or abused through child sexual abuse
Objective 8: Evidence on the prevalence of child sexual abuse is collected to inform the planning of services for children who have been sexually abused
We recognise that it is going to be challenging, but there is a fantastic opportunity to work with and support organisations and services to improve practice and ultimately to better respond to child sexual abuse, support children and prevent further abuse from taking place.
How we aim to achieve this
We want to spend some time to really understand the structure and set up of each Regional Safeguarding & Protection Board in Wales and establish relationships with key stakeholders. This will enable us to identify needs and effectively target the support needed for a long-term, sustainable response to child sexual abuse.
Mapping the existing child sexual abuse training being provided across Wales will help us to identify gaps and opportunities for building access to evidence and confidence for practitioners working with child sexual abuse.
In order to tackle an issue as pervasive and important as this needs everyone with a stake in working to prevent child sexual abuse to get involved. We will seek to build and develop those relationships and partnerships with not only the Regionals Safeguarding Boards, but Public Service Boards, Community Safety Partnerships, Police & Crime Commissioners, Public Health Wales, and Professional Bodies (e.g. RCN, CPHVA, RCPCH , CoP, IoL, Education and Social Care bodies) across Wales.
The CSA Centre has already produced a large body of research and evidence-based resources, with lots more in the pipeline. One of our priorities over the coming months will be to develop a dissemination strategy for sharing this evidence across Wales and measuring the impact on both policy and practice.
We really look forward to working with you all over the coming months as we find our feet and start building on the strong foundations that have already been laid. Please do get in touch if you want to find out more about our work plan or to discuss how we can work together in Wales to move towards a world where children can live free from the threat and harm of sexual abuse.