Implementation evaluation of InCtrl

Publication date 2020

Increasing safety and the resilience of children at risk of technology-assisted child sexual abuse

InCtrl is our service that aims to help protect children and young people from technology-assisted child sexual abuse (TA-CSA). We piloted the service between January 2019 and February 2020.

InCtrl uses group work to help increase children’s digital resilience, improve children’s emotional wellbeing and ensure they have effective social and family support networks to help keep them safe online. Practitioners also support parents and carers to understand the service and share their concerns and views about the needs of their child.

This evaluation report looks at factors that were barriers and facilitators to delivering the InCtrl service.

Authors: Nicola McConnell, Elizabeth Thomas, Sophie Johnson, Elena Zambartas, Ellie Pirrie, Chloe Pritchard and Emma Belton

Published: 2020


Download Implementation evaluation of InCtrl (PDF)
Download report (PDF)

Key finding

InCtrl was well-received by the young people attending and practitioners facilitating the groups. Practitioners could tailor session content to suit different ages, abilities and learning styles. Children’s relationships with the practitioners were very positive.

Other findings

Outcomes for children and their caregivers

Children, parents and practitioners provided evidence of increased digital resilience, emotional resilience, and wellbeing for children who completed the pilot service.

Engaging caregivers

Involvement of parents and carers within InCtrl is currently variable, so finding ways to increase the number of caregivers receiving advice and guidance will strengthen the support provided to children.

Working with primary school aged children

The pilot demonstrated a clear rationale for continuing to work with primary school aged children. Ages of children referred during the pilot ranged from 7 to 16 years, which was a wider age range than the target age group, but included children who found the materials accessible and would benefit from the service.

Reasons for referrals

Boys who were referred to the service were more likely to be involved in gaming, while people referring girls were more concerned about their use of social media. Other reoccurring reasons for referrals include mental health, previous safeguarding incidents, bullying and professionals having concerns about a child’s online behaviour.

What children and staff told us

“Before, if someone would text me that I didn’t know I'd reply, but now I don’t reply, if they text me something strange, I just look at it, or sometimes I don’t even look at it, I just click on their account and block them."

Child attending InCtrl
"She told me that she was really pleased that [her daughter] had gone on the group. She talks to her more about what she's doing online. She's online less. She's a lot more open."

NSPCC staff member


McConnell, N. et al. (2020) Increasing safety and the resilience of children at risk of technology-assisted child sexual abuse: implementation evaluation for InCtrl. London: NSPCC.