Sexual abuse assessments
Using and developing frameworks for practice
Edited by Martin C. Calder

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There has been, and continues to be, an immense problem with the recognition, assessment and management of sexual abuse. New research and practice wisdom have taken forward our ideas of best practice. But too much of the useful research that can help with assessments remains fragmented and inaccessible to practitioners, acting as a barrier to evidence-based assessment practice.

Moreover, in the UK, government guidance has expanded both the definitional boundaries and the expectation on workers and agencies. But, there remain few if any useful materials emanating from central government on how to undertake this essential area of work with victims, perpetrators and carers.

This significant new book addresses these challenges, by building on and replacing Calder's Complete Guide to Sexual Abuse Assessments (RHP 2000) in addressing these challenges. Well-received, that book was considered to be "a one-stop guide to risk assessment... bound to prove useful to practitioners, managers and trainers across the inter-agency network involved in risk assessment... a useful, comprehensive and wellinformed guide.' (Community Care) "A very comprehensive text," (Child and Family Social Work) "plundered for ideas by practitioners and trainers alike" (Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry).

With all material from the original book here fully reworked and expanded, this new book provides a contemporary view of the breadth of concerns, and:
  • updates the assessment frameworks, incorporating the latest research and practice wisdom.
  • adds several new frameworks, including those concerning rape, learning disability and the internet. These address several of the areas now included in government definitions of sexual abuse. But work on other new areas is less developed. So not all areas have been possible to include in ways that would be helpful, and the word 'complete' has been dropped from the title.

  • Moreover, by no means all of the sometimes rapidly expanding evidence-base is included. That is not this book's goal. Rather, it provides carefully selected and critical access to what is known, distilled in ways that are readily useful to practitioners who want to keep up, but are starved of the time and resources to be able to read everything.

    To help them and their managers better undertake or commission the most appropriate assessments, Calder has thoughtfully drawn upon the assistance of a wide range of professionals, collating what can best be learned from several countries and a range of professional disciplines to support reflective practice.

    For anyone involved in child protection, safeguarding children or community safety, this book is an essential guide for front-line work and training, which is directed towards reducing sexual abuse victimisation and re-victimisation, and helping those for whom the harm has already occurred to recover from their experiences.

    Extensively and carefully referenced, and fully underpinned by the current evidence base and theory, this invaluable new book offers a wealth of information that will also inform the work of academics, students and researchers.


    Practitioners, trainers and managers, as well as academics, students and researchers in: social work, health, psychology, psychiatry, the legal professions, police. Also for any partner agencies involved in child protection, safeguarding children and community safety. In the UK specifically: Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards and Community Safety Partnerships.


    Introduction Martin C Calder
    Victims of child sexual abuse: frameworks for understanding impact Martin C Calder
    Assessing Children and Young People’s Sexual Behaviour in a Changing Social Context Andrew Durham
    Assessing children with sexual behaviour problems L. C. Miccio-Fonseca & Lucinda Rasmussen
    SHARP practice Graeme Richardson
    The core assessment of young females who sexually abuse Susan L Robinson
    The assessment of young people with learning disabilities who sexually harm others Rachel Fyson
    Core assessment of adult male offenders David Briggs
    Assessment Of Women Who Sexually Abuse Children Hilary Eldridge, Ian Elliott & Sherry Ashfield
    Core assessment of adult sex offenders with a learning disability Leam A Craig, Ian Stringer, & Roger B. Hutchinson
    Assessment of internet sexual abuse Ethel Quayle
    Rape Assessment Rachael M Collie, Theresa A Gannon, Lucy King, & Tony Ward
    Mothers of sexually abused children Martin C Calder & Lynda Regan
    Body safety skills Lynda Regan
    Contact considerations where sexual abuse and domestic violence feature: adopting an evidence-based approach Martin C Calder & Lynda Regan
    Safe care Lynda Regan & Martin C Calder


    Martin C Calder
    established Calder Training and Consultancy in 2005 after 20 years in frontline child protection practice. His aim has been to generate and collate the available and necessary assessment tools for frontline staff, especially in times of massive change. He also critiques central government guidance and attempts to provide remedial materials to help fill the gap left between aspiration and reality. He is contactable through his website at


    "A very useful reference for assessment techniques and models across the spectrum of situations where sexual abuse or harmful behaviour is apparent.

    "Its value is in its accessibility to practitioners and its comprehensiveness. The practical approach taken by the authors will be of considerable value to all engaged in child protection and provides a solid guide to assessment tools, approaches and issues for consideration in undertaking this work.

    "I would strongly recommend this as a reference for practitioners and managers. It is mercifully free of academic jargon and imponderables and keeps to a welcome style of accessibility and practical application... a wealth of useful and engaging material that will undoubtedly assist our work in this challenging and complex field." Rostrum.

    "Comprehensive... coherent... Calder sets the context in the first chapter with a thorough overview of frameworks for understanding the impact of sexual abuse. He draws together a wide range of material. In this chapter alone, there are somewhere in the region of 200 references, which gives an indication of the breadth and depth of Calder's knowledge.

    "Chapter Two also has a context setting function in which Andrew Durham discusses assessing children and young people's sexual behaviour in a changing social context.

    "Thereafter, chapters are devoted to different aspects of assessment, including children and young people's sexual behavioural problems, young females who sexually abuse, adult and female male sex offenders, young people and adults with learning disabilities who offend, rape and internet sexual abuse... all chapters make for interesting and useful reading...

    "This book will be a much mined source for social work, health and criminal justice professional in both training and direct practice." British Journal of Social Work.