An Evaluation of Stop to Listen
Topic: Child protection, Child sexual exploitation (CSE), Local authority, Sexual abuse
Author: Ruth Sills
Stop to Listen is a two year project funded by RS MacDonald which aimed to develop and improve service responses to child sexual abuse and exploitation. The project was managed by Children 1st in partnership with four local authority pathfinder areas: Perth & Kinross, North Ayrshire, Glasgow and Renfrewshire.
The context for the project centred on the following shared concerns:
- A need for a more child centred response to children and young people who are experiencing child sexual abuse and opportunities for them to have more control over the child protection response when they speak out.
- An acceptance that child sexual abuse is under reported with many people affected not speaking out about this until they are adults, if at all. Adults reveal that they were prevented from speaking out due to fears that they may not be believed, shame, humiliation and guilt.
- The process for gathering evidence for criminal trials was not universally child centred and often led to children and young people to retract their evidence, leading some to remain in potentially high risk situations.
- Practitioners lacked confidence in responding to child sexual abuse in an effective and child centred way and were unsure how to speak to children and young people about sexual abuse.
- The individual and societal cost of child sexual abuse is enormous.