General Overview: The CCSB Service Provider Network was conceived as a result of a stated need for services and specialized training regarding children with concerning sexual behaviour (CCSB) in the Near North Region of Ontario. Once Dr. Tracey Curwen moved to the Near North Region to work in the Psychology Department and Nipissing University, she contacted a number of community service providers to determine where children with concerning sexual behaviours (CSB) are referred for assessments of their needs and risk in an attempt to collect data on a Northern sample of children. However, multiple discussions with some very committed and dedicated community professionals revealed a service gap regarding this population of children. This service gap spurred the development of the CCSB Regional Service Provider Network which is funded by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
Detailed Overview: For the past 20 years, Dr. Curwen has conducted research, provided psychological assessments, and consulted to a number of agencies regarding research specific to adolescent sexual offending and children with concerning sexual behaviour. Dr. Curwen’s introduction to the sexual abuse field was through the Sexual Abuse: Family, Education, and Treatment (SAFE-T) Program, Thistletown Regional Centre. During her time at SAFE-T, Dr. Curwen worked as part of a clinical team as the psychometrist and she conducted research primarily on adolescent sexual offenders. As part of her work at SAFE-T, she co-authored a risk assessment protocol for adolescent sex offenders which has received much attention and has been translated and adapted in a number of countries (see Worling & Curwen, 2000; Estimate of Risk of Sexual Offence Recidivism: ERASOR). In 2002, the Toronto District School Board contacted SAFE-T regarding children who were suspended as a result of their sexual behaviours. Funding from the Toronto Maple Leafs organization was obtained and, with colleagues, Dr. Curwen conducted brief assessments and provided support and training to school social workers. It was during this project when Dr. Curwen realized the lack of empirical evidence and literature regarding factors associated with the risk that a child would continue engaging in concerning sexual behaviours once identified and reprimanded. These realizations lead to a shift in Dr. Curwen’s research focus from adolescent sex offenders to children with concerning sexual behaviour (CSB) and specifically risk factors associated with repeated CSB. Since 2002, Dr. Curwen has authored and co-authored a number of papers and book chapters regarding children with CSB (see Curwen & Costin, 2007; Curwen, Jenkins, & Worling, 2014); importantly, she developed and validated a risk assessment protocol for children with CSB (see Curwen, 2011). Curwen’s child CSB risk assessment protocol (i.e., Assessing Risk for Repeated Sexual Behaviour Problems; AR-RSBP) has been implemented in multiple countries and research regarding its utility, reliability, and validity is ongoing. In an attempt to add a northern sample to her research regarding the AR-RSBP, Dr. Curwen contacted northern service providers to determine the local agencies providing assessments to children with CSB.
Based on discussions with regional service providers, it became evident that the Near North Region experiences a service and knowledge gap regarding children under 12 with CSB. Multiple discussions with some very dedicated and committed clinical directors and supervisors, executive directors, and front-line clinical staff indicated the need and likely benefit of training and support for those working with children engaging in CSB. In 2014, a grant proposal to develop a support network for near north service providers working with children with CSB was submitted for a Safer and Vital Communities grant provided by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services; support for this project funding application was thankfully provided by the Ontario Provincial Police, PARNIP CAS, and Handsthefamilyhelpnetwork.ca. The grant application was successful and the Ministry provided funding for the project over 2 years.
Goals: This generous funding will allow for the development of the Network through initiatives such as this website, training and workshop opportunities, a mentor program for a small number of clinicians and social workers providing assessments and treatment programs to children with CSB, and research and evaluation of the project and the efficacy of the AR-RSBP as utilized by service providers involved in the Network. The goal of the project is to increase knowledge, improve identification of children with CSB, identify and promote access to regional resources and service providers, increase skills and competence of those working with these children, and improve services and increase community safety.
Curwen, T. (2011). A framework to assist in evaluating children’s risk to repeat concerning sexual behaviour. In M. Calder (Ed.), Contemporary Practice with Young People who Sexually Abuse: Evidence-based Developments (pp. 263 – 291). Russell House Publishing, Lyme Regis: Dorset.
Curwen, T. & Costin, D. (2007). Toward assessing risk for repeated concerning sexual behaviour by children with sexual behaviour problems: What we know and what we can do with this knowledge. In D. Prescott (Ed.), Knowledge and Practice: Challenges in the Treatment and Supervision of Sexual Abusers, Wood ‘N’ Barnes Publishing, USA, pp.310-344.
Curwen, T., Jenkins, J. M., & Worling, J. R. (2014). Differentiating children with and without a history of repeated problematic sexual behavior. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse. 23, 462-480.
Worling, J. R. & Curwen, T. (2001). The “ERASOR”: Estimate of Risk of Adolescent Sexual Offense Recidivism. In M. C. Calder, H. Hanks, K. J. Epps, B. Print, T. Morrison, & J. Henniker, J. (Eds) Juveniles and children who sexually abuse: Frameworks for assessments (2nd ed.) (pp. 372-397). Russell House Publishing, Lyme Regis: Dorset.