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Research to understand whether a survey on the scale and nature of child abuse could be carried out in the future

The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) is carrying out research to help understand whether it would be possible to conduct a national survey of children to explore the scale and nature of child abuse. NatCen has been asked to do this research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).They are considering how they could best run a survey and capture accurate information on different forms of child abuse.

No single source currently reports the scale and nature of child abuse in the UK, and official statistics are limited in their coverage of the topic. A national prevalence survey would provide valuable information which could inform policy in this area, help to improve support provided to victims and reduce the prevalence of this kind of crime. 

We have been asked to carry out this research to help inform decisions being taken by the ONS  and the government on whether and how to conduct a national survey on child abuse, given the challenges of collecting robust evidence on this sensitive area.  

This research project involves us talking to and hearing the views of children and young people, parents and guardians, and practitioners and support staff. In speaking to these groups, we seek to understand whether it would be possible to carry out this kind of survey, and, if so, the key considerations that would need to be taken into account to do this effectively.