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Determinants of Referral Outcomes for Victim–Survivors Accessing Specialist Sexual Violence and Abuse Support Services

Bunce, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-7244-0561, Blom, N. ORCID: 0000-0003-0742-4554 & Capelas Barbosa, E. ORCID: 0000-0001-8282-131X (2024). Determinants of Referral Outcomes for Victim–Survivors Accessing Specialist Sexual Violence and Abuse Support Services. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, doi: 10.1080/10538712.2024.2341183


Sexual violence and abuse (SVA) is highly prevalent globally, has devastating and wide-ranging effects on victim-survivors, and demands the provision of accessible specialist support services. In the UK, Rape Crisis England & Wales (RCEW), a voluntary third sector organization, is the main provider of specialist SVA services. Understanding the profile of victim-survivors who are referred to RCEW and their referral outcomes is important for the effective allocation of services. Using administrative data collected by three Rape Crisis Centres in England between April 2016 and March 2020, this study used multinomial regression analysis to examine the determinants of victim-survivors’ referral outcomes, controlling for a wide range of potentially confounding variables. The findings demonstrate that support needs, more so than the type of abuse experienced, predicted whether victim-survivors were engaged with services. Particularly, the presence of mental health, substance misuse and social, emotional, and behavioral needs were important for referral outcomes. The referral source also influenced referral outcomes, and there were some differences according to demographic characteristics and socioeconomic factors. The research was co-produced with stakeholders from RCEW, who informed interpretation of these findings. That victim-survivors’ engagement with services was determined by their support needs, over and above demographic characteristics or the type of abuse they had experienced, demonstrates the needs-led approach to service provision adopted by RCEW, whereby resources are allocated effectively to those who need them most.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.
Publisher Keywords: Sexual violence, sexual abuse, specialist services, support needs, engagement, rape crisis centers, referral outcomes
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs
School of Policy & Global Affairs > Violence and Society Centre
SWORD Depositor:
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