Professionals who help children – worrying numbers


A little over a week ago the Marie Collins Foundation published the results of research they had carried out into the state of readiness of the children’s workforce in England to deal with online offending against children.

Anecdotally lots of people had heard staff were, as a whole, woefully ill-prepared. The survey aimed to shine some light on the issue by collecting empirical data.

Working with Emma Bond and Stuart Agnew from University Campus Suffolk and Andy Phippen from Plymouth University the Foundation surveyed relevant employees of Local Safeguarding Children Boards, Primary Care Trusts and Local Education Authorities. They received replies from 231, 278 and 173 people respectively.

The research aimed to ascertain training requirements amongst professionals in relation to the assessment and intervention needs of children, and their families, in cases of child sex abuse and exploitation which took place over the internet.

The key findings were

70% of the respondents stated that they had not received training in online risk assessment.

96.5%  said they would value it.

81.1% of the respondents said they had received no training in assisting children in their recovery from online abuse.

94% said that they would value it.

More than half said they would not feel confident about helping children who had experienced harm or abuse online.

Over to you Messrs Gove and Hunt.

PS There doesn’t seem to be a link to the survey on the Marie Collins site but they say if you want more details you can email

About John Carr

John Carr is one of the world's leading authorities on children's and young people's use of digital technologies. He is Senior Technical Adviser to Bangkok-based global NGO ECPAT International and is Secretary of the UK's Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety. John is now or has formerly been an Adviser to the Council of Europe, the UN (ITU), the EU and UNICEF. John has advised many of the world's largest technology companies on online child safety. John's skill as a writer has also been widely recognised.
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