Understanding & Managing Sexualised Behaviour in Children & Adolescents. Guidelines for Parents and Carers in the Cyber Age

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Kieran McGrath holds a degree in Law and a Masters in Social Work from University College Dublin. Part of his post-graduate studies was undertaken in the Sacramento Child Sexual Abuse Treatment Agency, California. From 1981 to 1987 he worked as a Social Worker and Social Work Manager with the Eastern Health Board in Wicklow and Kildare. From Jan ‘88 – Mar ‘02 he was Principal Psychiatric Social Worker in St Clare’s Child Sexual Abuse Assessment & Therapy Unit, Children’s University Hospital, Temple St., Dublin. In March 2002 he was appointed Assistant Director in St Clare’s Unit.

In 1990 he co-founded the Northside Inter-Agency Project (NIAP) a treatment service for young people who sexually abuse; the first service of its kind in Ireland. He was a clinician with NIAP from 1990 until 2002 when he became Chair of its Steering Committee. He represented St Clare’s Unit on various expert working parties including the Video Evidence Committee which drew up guidelines for the taking of video-statements from children and people with intellectual disabilities in cases of alleged abuse [1].

He was also the Irish partner on two European research projects: the Concerted Action on the Prevention of Child Abuse in Europe (CAPCAE), a European research project on child abuse prevention strategies and a DAPHNE-funded project looking at the legal obstacles to victim and offender rehabilitation in cases of child sexual abuse in Spain, Ireland and the Netherlands. A report on this latter study was published by the Council of Europe in 2003 [2].

He is also a Visiting Research Associate in the Dept of Social Studies, Trinity College Dublin, where he teaches a course to Masters-level students entitled “Social Work and the Law”. He is also an External Examiner of Social Care courses with Dundalk Institute of Technology. Between 1996 and 2001 he was a non-psychologist member of the Professional Practice Committee of the Psychological Society of Ireland which examines complaints of professional misconduct against Irish psychologists. He is also an associate and accreditated trainer with the AIM Project, Manchester.

He is the author of guides for parents and carers on sexualised behaviour in children and adolescents [3] in English [4] and Spanish [5]. He is also an accredited trainer of the “Staff Supervision in Social Care” course developed in Manchester by the late Tony Morrison [6]. He is also accredited to provide Risk Assessments using AIM2, MATRIX 2000 and STABLE & ACUTE (2007).

In January 2006 he established the Irish Child & Family Institute, an independent Child Welfare Consultancy, which operates in both Ireland and Spain. Since 2007 he has been consultant to the ATURA’T Project in Palma, Majorca, a service for the evaluation and treatment of young people convicted of sexual offences, which operates under the auspices of the Menors i Familia section of the autonomous Government of the Balearic Islands.

[1] Department of Justice, Equality & Law Reform (2003) Good Practice Guidelines for persons involved in Video Recording interviews with complainants under 14 years of age (or with intellectual disability) for evidential purposes in accordance with Section 16 (1) (b) of the Criminal Evidence Act, 1992, in cases involving sexual and/or violent offences. Dublin: Dept of Justice, Equality & Law Reform.
[2] Cerezo, M. A., McGrath, K. & Lamers-Winkelman, F. (2003) Perpetrators and Victims of Child Sexual Abuse: Identifying the legal obstacles to rehabilitation in three European countries. In C. Cahal-May & A. Herzcog (Eds) Child Sexual Abuse in Europe. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing.
[3] McGrath, K. (2010) Understanding & Managing Sexualised Behaviour in Children and Adolescents – Guidelines for Parents and Carers. Dublin: CARI Foundation
[4] McGrath, K. (2019) Understanding & Managing Sexualised Behaviour in Children and Adolescents – Guidelines for Parents and Carers. in the Cyber Age. Dublin: ICFI
[5] McGrath, K. (2011) Guía sobre comportamientos sexuales en niños y adolescentes – Pautas a seguir por padres y tutores. Valencia, Spain: IPINFA
[6] Morrison, T. (2005) Staff Supervision in Social Care – Making a Real Difference for Staff & Service Users. Brighton: Pavilion Publishing.

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