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Home > Report of an audit of child protection research in Ireland 1990-2009.

Buckley, Helen and Corrigan, Carmel and Kerrins, Liz (2010) Report of an audit of child protection research in Ireland 1990-2009. Dublin: Children's Act Advisory Board. CAAB research report no. 7.

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Findings:
A total of 190 research documents were identified in line with the criteria agreed between the researchers and the CAAB, and are included in the audit. The key findings from the analysis of the audit are as follows:
• Research identified in the audit has tended to focus on child protection and the child protection system generally, as well as sexual abuse. This research has primarily been undertaken by clinicians and academics, and spans across sectors.
• Over half, (110 or 58%) of the research falls under the heading of policy/practice reviews/analysis. This is further reflected in the fact that the research most commonly focused on operating procedures, followed by practice issues and the policy framework, both in studies with a single focus and those with multiple foci.
• The most common type of publication was peer reviewed article (74 or 39%), with commissioned research accounting for just 7% (13). This is in line with the findings that 68% (128) of commissioning/publishing bodies and 74% (139) of research bodies were in the academic sector.
• The research published and/or commissioned by the statutory sector follows the pattern found in the audit generally, with the most common type of study being policy/practice review/analysis (27 or 48%) and the most common focus being operating procedures (22 or 39%).
• Information sources rarely incorporated primary research with children, with only 14 studies (8%) citing direct contact with children and young people. Information on children was more commonly gathered from case files, professionals and family members.
• The topics covered in the identified research were very wide-ranging but closely related to the primary subject area (type of abuse) and the sector in which the research was located.

One conclusion stated that:
There is a shortage of child protection-focused research on the factors that cause and perpetuate child abuse, such as homelessness, addiction, parental mental illness and domestic violence. The need for material on these areas is demonstrated by the nature and scale of reports to the child protection system and the removal of some children from their families into out of home care as a result of the above mentioned adversities.


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