The NSPCC’s Theme Lead for Child Sexual Abuse (CSA), Pat Branigan, has been awarded a Churchill Fellowship by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust1. The Fellowship includes funding to travel to different countries to develop innovative solutions for the UK’s most pressing problems.
As part of his fellowship, Pat will be visiting the USA to explore public health approaches to combating child sexual abuse, with the aim of using his findings to develop a new public health prevention framework to address CSA in the UK.
During Pat’s seven years at the NSPCC he has been at the forefront of developing the charity’s approach to tackling child sexual abuse. This work includes co-authoring a national operational framework to help local authorities develop more consistent and improve practice when dealing with children displaying Harmful Sexual Behaviour. Most recently, Pat appeared in a series of documentary films for Channel 4, discussing the impact of harmful sexual behaviours in primary schools.
Pat has also developed a collection of evidence-based resources for Health Education England, to help health practitioners respond to children and young people displaying harmful sexual behaviours (HSB), an online training course to help education professionals manage harmful sexual behaviour in schools, as well as a series of free podcasts.
Pat will use his time abroad to attend conferences, meetings and interviews with international safeguarding and child sexual abuse experts, and learn about the primary prevention methods currently in operation and development in the USA. This learning will be used to develop an innovative new public health framework that will be characterised by a coordinated, systematic and evidence-based approach to recognising and responding to CSA. It is hoped this research will lead to a wider adoption of a CSA public health framework in the UK, and help local authorities develop and improve their preventative responses to CSA.
Talking about his fellowship, Pat said: “Provision of CSA services remains patchy across the UK and in order to reduce cases of child sexual abuse there needs to be a coordinated, consistent and multiagency approach to deterrence, including support for and interventions for those who have offended, ultimately we must focus on prevention. Framing CSA as a public health problem makes the prevention focus a priority.
“The development of a coherent and widely adopted CSA framework based on a public health approach would finally allow local areas to understand their current response to CSA and show the need to think more about preventing CSA, rather than responding retrospectively.”
If you want to get in touch with Pat Branigan to discuss this project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ReferencesWinston Churchill Memorial Trust (2020) Find out more about Churchill Fellowships