Research to understand whether a survey on the scale and nature of child abuse could be carried out in the future
Information for support organisations
Overview of the research The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) is carrying out research on behalf of the Office for National Statistics to understand whether it would be possible to conduct a survey about child abuse in the UK. The research will help to inform decisions by ONS on whether and how to conduct a UK-wide survey of this nature in the future. If delivered successfully, such a survey would provide valuable information on the scale and nature of child abuse across the UK, which is not currently available from a single source. As such, it could be used to inform policy and support provided to victims and survivors and help ultimately to reduce the prevalence of abuse.
As part of the feasibility research, NatCen would like to carry out interviews with children and young adults with known experiences of abuse in childhood and focus groups with parents and guardians of such children. The discussions will explore their views on how to carry out a survey of this nature, including how best to involve children, key ethical considerations, and support that should be put in place. Taking part is a good opportunity to inform and shape future data collection on this very important issue. To be clear, participants will not be asked to discuss any experiences they may themselves have had in relation to abuse.
We would appreciate your support in approaching individuals through your work who might be interested in taking part in an interview or focus group. This note provides more detailed information about the research and what will be involved.
We are keen to emphasise that the project should not cause an undue burden and that participation in the research is entirely voluntary.
What taking part will involve
Data collection is being scheduled to take place in August and September. Depending on individual preference and Covid-19 restrictions at the time, it will be carried out either in person or via online video-conferencing using Zoom. Experienced members of the NatCen research team will lead each interview or group discussion.
Parents and guardians will be invited to take part in a focus group with up to four other people. Each group will last around 90 minutes.
Children aged 11-17 and young people aged 18-25 with non-recent experience of abuse will be invited to take part in interviews. All interviews will be held at a time and date that is convenient for each person and will last up to around 60 minutes (45 minutes for younger children).
According to children’s preferences and individual availability, they can take place either in a one-to-one interview or as part of a pair with another child they already know from your organisation. If feasible for you, we would like to offer children the option of an adult support worker attending in a support capacity if they would like.
Children will also need to have consent from their parent/guardian before they are approached about the research. If you are going to help us engage with children for the study, we will also ask you to pass on an information sheet and consent form to share with parents/guardians.
Taking part is completely voluntary, and individuals are free to change their minds at any time. Participant data will be confidential and treated anonymously, with the exception of disclosure of harm in which case an agreed disclosure protocol will be adhered to.
Parents and young adults who take part in a research interview or group will receive a £40 shopping voucher to thank them for their time, and children will receive a £20 voucher.
Please note that it may not be possible for us to speak to everyone who would like to take part.
Recruitment and interview process
Interviews and focus groups will be conducted by a small team of NatCen researchers experienced at carrying out research on a range of sensitive topics, including with children and young people.
We will offer a thank you payment to each organisation that is involved in supporting this recruitment at the end of the research.
We have suggested the following process for recruiting individuals to take part in the research
Arrange a call to discuss research If you are happy to support this study and identify people who might be eligible and willing to participate, a researcher from NatCen will organise a suitable time to speak with you on the phone to discuss the objectives of the research. This will include a discussion around the different groups of people we are hoping to speak to. After the telephone briefing, the NatCen researcher will email you the information leaflets for different participant groups and privacy notices to share with relevant individuals.
You approach individuals to ask if they are interested in taking part in the study.
You would pass on the information leaflet (provided by the NatCen research team) to the relevant people, explaining the purpose of the study and emphasising the voluntary nature of the research. For children, this will include approaching parents/guardians for their consent to approach their child about the research. ·
If somebody is happy in principle to take part in an interview or wants to speak to the NatCen research team to find out more, please seek their consent to share their contact details with the NatCen research team. Consenting to share their contact details with the NatCen research team does not mean the individual will need to participate in the research, and they can still opt out of the research and will be able to ask questions before agreeing to participate. ·
Individuals can also contact the NatCen research team directly using the contact details provided in the information leaflet
You provide the NatCen research team with contact details You would then share the contact details (first name, phone number and email address where relevant) of individuals who have consented to this with the NatCen research team. This information will need to be securely transferred to NatCen over the phone or via a secure FTP site to which we can give you access.
NatCen contacts individuals to provide further information and arrange interview/group discussion
Upon receiving contact details, NatCen researchers will make direct contact with potential participants. We will answer any questions they may have about the research, ask if they are willing to participate in an interview/ focus group and, if so, arrange this for a day and time that is convenient for them. Immediately prior to the interview, the NatCen researcher will recap the study aims and what taking part will involve with each participant, issues around confidentiality/anonymity and any caveats, and obtain verbal consent from each participant. NatCen will also ask the participant for consent to audio record the interview.
NatCen – Social Research that works for society
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