TCELT Research Seminar - Are prevalence studies of child sexual abuse a waste of time?

The next TCELT Research Seminar will take place on Tuesday 29th January 2019, 4-5pm, in the University of Dundee's Dalhousie Building, room 1S08.

In this seminar Sarah Nelson will ask some ethical and practical questions about the continuing research priority given to prevalence studies of CSA, including the difficulty of ever achieving true figures. She will argue that greater accuracy about the prevalence of CSA will come about not through conventional research methodologies, but as a by-product of ethical and child-centred practice against sexual abuse and exploitation.

She will explore the role of professional responses to the backlash in the steady decline of CSA cases in child protection statistics, and suggest ways of at least increasing the accuracy of prevalence estimates, through using figures revealed from “searchlight” investigations; through perpetrator-focused strategies of child protection; and through creating genuinely child-centred environments.


Dr Sarah Nelson is author of Tackling Child Sexual Abuse: Radical Approaches to Prevention, Protection and Support, (Policy Press, 2016). Her earlier work Incest: Fact & Myth was influential as the first British book to highlight childhood sexual abuse as a gendered abuse of power. She has carried out qualitative research on physical and mental issues for abuse survivors, on improving child protection and on community involvement against sexual crime, at both the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, University of Edinburgh, and the University of Dundee.  Sarah was a professional adviser to the Scottish Government’s Survivor Scotland team, and adviser and co-author of the Scottish Parliament’s Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation (Scottish Parliament, 2014).

All welcome.