Implementation of a digital health intervention for young people exposed to technology assisted sexual abuse

Ethel Quayle, Matthias Schwannauer, Gillian Radford, Sandra Bucci*, Filippo Varese, Kate Allsopp, Kim Cartwright, Cindy Chan, Prathiba Chitsabesan, Victoria Green, William Hewins, Amanda Larkin, Alice Newton-Braithwaite, Erica Niebauer, Cathy Richards, Marina Sandys, Sara Shafi, Jennifer Ward, Pauline Whelan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: The internet has become a place of increased risk of abuse, including sexual abuse, for young people (YP). One potential risk factor to online abuse and exploitation is the ability to mentalise. We developed the i-Minds app, a mentalisation-based digital health intervention (DHI) for YP who have experienced technology assisted sexual abuse (TASA), which we tested in a clinical feasibility trial. Nested within the trial was a qualitative implementation study with clinicians who referred to the trial.
Objective: To explore the barriers and enablers to the future integration of i-Minds into clinical practice.
Participants and setting: Twelve HCPs were recruited from across two trial recruitment sites (Manchester and Edinburgh).
Methods: Semi-structured interviews were informed by Normalisation Process Theory (NPT). Framework analysis was used; transcripts were coded deductively to NPT constructs.
Results: Practitioners were positive about the need for, and added value of, the i-Minds app over existing interventions, including other DHIs. While they felt confident with the app, concerns remained around the safety of using the app without practitioner support. i-Minds promoted changes in practitioners’ work and impacted online behaviour of YP. There was an identified need for further training and organisational support.
Conclusions: Practitioners are aware of TASA but have limited knowledge, skills and tools to work with TASA in clinical practice with YP. There is a need for awareness raising and education about TASA and DHI. i-Minds offers a theory-informed DHI for working with YP exposed to TASA that is acceptable to practitioners and YP.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106883
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Early online date12 Jun 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jun 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • adolescent
  • mobile applications
  • feasibility studies
  • risk factors
  • internet
  • health care practitioners


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