COVID-19 Guidance from WillisPalmer

Whilst the outbreak of Covid-19 is likely to cause some disruption to WillisPalmer services in the short-term, we are issuing guidance outlining our plans to minimise the impact of the virus.

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Forensic Risk Assessments

Leading forensic risk assessment service provider in the UK

Promoting the welfare and protection of children and young people is a key principle behind all of WillisPalmer's work. We have been a specialist provider of forensic services for over 16 years and use our genuinely multi-disciplinary teams to promote the welfare of children and assist and support frontline practitioners and managers to make the best decisions in cases of complex child sexual abuse.

Our extensively trained multi-disciplinary teams of expert social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists recognise that abusers are not a homogeneous population group and fall within a range of offence typologies and risk parameters. They have a broad range of specialist skills and experience to advise, assess and intervene with:

  • Individuals identified as significant risk and who require intensive case management monitoring;
  • People who have been diagnosed with learning difficulty or mental health problem;
  • Individuals residing in residential care, educational establishments or substitute family environments;
  • Children at risk of or who have experienced intra-and/or-extra-familial sexual abuse;
  • Individuals who have historic convictions;
  • Those who have had uncorroborated allegations of sexual abuse made against them;
  • Children and young people who have engaged in sexually harmful or offending behaviours;
  • Females who have sexually offended;
  • Children or young people who have experienced internet-based offences, such as grooming.

Forensic Risk Assessments

Our experts and multi-disciplinary teams can carry out a broad range of independent assessments. Specialist risk assessments will use a broad range of formalised empirically recognised appraisal tools to aid investigative, predictive and clinical judgement.

We engage in the following assessments:

  • Forensic evaluation and risk assessments on male and female clients convicted of a sexual offence
  • Psychometric assessments
  • Fitness to Plead assessments
  • Opinion in family reconstruction viability cases
  • Environmental risk and safety analyses of community, family and organisational settings
  • Structured risk and needs assessments for children and young people who have sexually harmed others

Similarly, we advise on those sexual risk behaviours which may not reach a threshold to convict but may suggest deviant sexual interests, thus potentially posing a risk to children and other vulnerable individuals.

Expert Advice

WillisPalmer advises and works alongside practitioners to design intervention strategies for engaging clients and where applicable, relevant others. This may include interventions to progress contact/rehabilitation plans and restorative processes.

Such work will often include a need for protective behaviour/risk awareness interventions with partners/others in the family system to promote assertive communication and safe permissible boundaries before any rehabilitation process commences.

Therapeutic work with young people residing in family, residential and educational settings

Children and young people who display behaviour that is sexually concerning or harmful is a primary focus for child protection practice.

Intervention with young people is generally effective.  Research indicates that recidivism rates for young people who sexually offend are significantly lower than adult sex offenders – Alexander’s (2000) 3-5 year follow-up study found recidivism rate was 7.1% of young people and 13% for adults. (sample N=1000). The relevance of engaging in therapy with this age group is that:

  • Young people are less likely to have fixed patterns of sexual thoughts, fantasies and behaviours.
  • Children and young people are more amenable to influence and management by adults.

Children and young people are more likely to respond to appropriate support or therapy  to meet the person’s physical, emotional, health, educational and support needs.  WP Risk provides experienced practitioners to work directly with children/ young people and their families in a wide variety of settings.

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Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

£7m funding for charities supporting children affected by COVID-19 and lockdown measures

Vulnerable children and families affected by COVID-19 and the measures put in place to stop its spread will benefit from support offered by a coalition of charities under a new ‘See, Hear, Respond’ Department for Education programme.

The government has provided £7m of funding to launch the service which will be led by the charity Barnardo’s [...]

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Are you a foodie or a fitness fanatic? The groups emerging during lockdown

While it is inevitable that most of us have probably endured our fair share of wobbles during lockdown, given the fact we have never experienced anything like this before, people have naturally had to adapt their mindsets to navigate their way through social isolation.

I’ve noticed a number of ‘groups’ emerging.

The fitness fanatics

Walking, jogging, running – [...]

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Blog: Abuse during lockdown

WillisPalmer Chief Executive Mark Willis says all professionals working with children need to be ultra vigilant in looking for signs of abuse as we ease out of lockdown.

Children’s services professionals need to be vigilant for signs of emotional, physical and sexual abuse in young people as children return to primary school following lockdown, the chief [...]

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