Learning from the Risk of Sexual Abuse (ROSA) Project

Around one third of child sexual abuse is carried out by under-18s and online harm is a growing problem as young people’s use of technology has increased. To tackle this issue we launched the Risk of Sexual Abuse (ROSA) Project in 2018.

Over three years, we worked with young people between the ages of 10 to 18 who had exhibited technology-assisted harmful sexual behaviour (TA-HSB). The project aimed to understand pathways into offending, to explore how to help young people make better and safer choices in the future, and to test out what might prevent such behaviour in the first place.

Find out what we learnt below and in our blog post. If you’d like more information, please contact us on scotland@lucyfaithfull.org.uk.

Lessons from the ROSA project

Here’s a short video highlighting the key findings of the ROSA project.


ROSA Conference: Tackling Technology Assisted Harmful Sexual Behaviour 

We hosted a conference to share what we learnt from the ROSA Project and to explore current research and best practice around protecting children and young people from harm. Speakers included:

  • Dr Clare Allely – Reader in Forensic Psychology, University of Salford
  • Dr Emily Setty – Dept of Criminology, University of Surrey
  • Dr Jenny Lloyd – Assistant Professor, University of Durham
  • David Russell – Community Safety and Justice Manager, Midlothian Council
  • Laura Nott – Senior Practitioner (Schools), Lucy Faithfull Foundation

Here are some of the presentations from the conference.

Dr Clare Allely – Young people with autistic spectrum disorders who display technology assisted harmful sexual behaviour

Clare is a Reader in Forensic Psychology at the University of Salford. Her presentation explores why autistic young people were overly represented in the ROSA Project work and best practice in working with autistic people around prevention of harmful sexual behaviour.

Dr Emily Setty – Self produced sexual images sharing

Emily is a lecturer at the University of Surrey. Her presentation looks at the latest research and best practice around self-produced sexual image sharing between adolescents.

Dr Jenny Lloyd – Whole school approaches to prevention of technology assisted harmful sexual behaviour

Jenny is Assistant Professor at the University of Durham. Her presentation looks at the latest research in whole school approaches to the preventing harmful sexual behaviour and what teachers and school staff can do.

David Russell – Supporting young gay & bisexual males: online harm & technology assisted harmful sexual behaviour

David is Community Safety and Justice Manager at Midlothian Council. David shares his thoughts on why gay young men are overrepresented amongst young people referred to the ROSA Project and best practice in preventing harmful sexual behaviour and supporting LGBT youth who display harmful sexual behaviours.

Laura Nott – Future directions in preventing technology assisted harmful sexual behaviour

Laura is Senior Practitioner (Schools) for Lucy Faithfull Foundation. She is working with researchers from the University of Surrey to gather evidence of what works to help schools respond to and prevent harmful sexual behaviour and shares the emerging findings through her presentation.

Download The Future Directions presentation (ppt)

Evaluation of the ROSA Project

The ROSA project was independently evaluated by the University of Strathclyde. Download the Faithfull Paper summary of the research and the full independent evaluation.

Training for professionals

We’ve developed a programme for Education Scotland schools to help tackle technology assisted harmful sexual behaviour. Find our more about the training and how to book.

We also deliver training for practitioners in our Inform Young People’s programme, a programme for young people who have displayed technology assisted harmful sexual behaviour. Get in touch to find out more and book: scotland@lucyfaithfull.org.uk.

Additional resources

Find out about our other resources to help professionals and families prevent harmful sexual behaviour.

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