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Understanding abuse

To recognise and respond to child sexual abuse, we must develop a better understanding of how abuse happens, who abuses children and what form abuse takes.

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A typology of offending

Currently, the ways in which we describe ‘types’ or ‘models’ of child sexual abuse offending are not consistent. The majority been developed over time by professionals to help them make sense of what they see in the field.

To help, we have created a typology of child sexual abuse offending focusing on the context of offending and reflecting different patterns of behaviour rather than focusing on the characteristics of either the perpetrator or the victim. The typology seeks to present a fuller representation of child sexual abuse offending, including online and contact abuse, enabling us to view child sexual abuse through a different lens and to make connections between different types of offending that might otherwise be missed.

It is intended to inform rather than direct practice, helping to improve our collective responses to child sexual abuse by developing a stronger shared understanding of the complexity of this abuse and the many different forms it can take.

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Understanding child sexual exploitation perpetration

In this series of studies we sought to increase our understanding of child sexual exploitation perpetration and identify the strengths and limitations of current research approaches. Each study varies in it’s approach including: identifying findings from research to date, undertaking interviews with experts and in some cases, case file analysis, new empirical evidence on the characteristics and perspectives of individuals who sexually exploit young people. By sharing this research and findings we hope to influence the focus and methodology of further much needed research.

Explore our other research: