Assessing sexual behaviours in children and young people: a realistic evaluation of the Brook Traffic Light tool
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-review
Colleges, School and Institutes
The Brook Traffic Light Tool intends to support professionals in responding to developmentally inappropriate behaviours in children and young people. This is important as the number of reported harmful sexual behaviours in children and young people is rising. This study is a realistic evaluation of Brook Traffic Light Tool training implemented across a southern locality, using the Kirkpatrick model of evaluating training. Data were collected in a three-phase mixed methods approach: comprising 436 initial questionnaires, 60 additional detailed questionnaires and 13 interviews. The results show that confidence among professionals was raised and multiagency responses to risk were enhanced. The Traffic Light Tool training also increased awareness of sexual development. Direct impact upon the behaviour of children and young people was difficult to ascertain, and categorisation anomalies were found when behaviours were not explicitly outlined in the Traffic Light Tool. A range of professionals with little previous training had encountered both harmful and healthy sexual behaviours in children and young people. Comparison of the numbers of sexual behaviours observed to national figures proved problematic as no baseline or national strategy currently exists. ‘This study is a realistic evaluation of Brook Traffic Light Tool… using the Kirkpatrick model of evaluating training’. Key Practitioner Messages: The Traffic Light Tool enhances practitioner confidence in the area of sexual behaviours in children and young people and can impact positively on risk assessments but only when all agencies have been trained. The Traffic Light Tool can remove the context into which the behaviours are situated, making assessment one dimensional. Using the Traffic Light Tool when a behaviour is not explicitly listed may result in subjective judgements being made. It is difficult to assess the direct impact of the Traffic Light Tool on the behaviour of CYP.
|Journal||Child Abuse Review|
|Early online date||8 Feb 2021|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 8 Feb 2021|