Assessment Models Introduction

Core Principles

The AIM approach is rooted in a number of core principles and these naturally inform and guide our approach to assessment.

The first  of these is that any effective approach to Harmful Sexual Behaviour demands an an informed inter agency and multi disciplinary approach. Like any significant safeguarding concern, no one agency has the capacity or capability to act alone. The complexity of decision making and the need for overall agreed aims and objectives requires agencies to work in unison, whether tis be in a strategic planning/policy arena or in the realities of face to face engagement with young people, their families and their communities.

The second principle relates to the the first; the need to adopt a holistic approach to assessment which is inclusive of all aspects of the young persons life and lived experience.  In a field which is prone to the adoption of labels, there remains a critical need to adopt a wider ecological approach to assessment.  Thus  whilst there are a number of individual AIM frameworks available to practitioners they are unified in their  underpinning style and structure. Moreover the AIM approach to assessment values and encourages the identification and nurturing of strength and capacity in individuals and families rather than mere identifying and managing risk and concern.

Finally, assessment is a professional activity that takes place in the context of a policy/ proceedural framework and as such its outcomes and reach will either be enhanced and supported or curtailed and constrained by the policy framework. AIM believes that in addition to practitioner tools equal attention needs to be paid to the policy framework which underpins them.

The Models of Assessment

Following on from the original AIM initial assessment model for those young people aged 10 – 18 years, has been the development of three additional and complimentary models that give a wider and more holistic perspective to this area of assessment, than previously seen. All 4 of these assessment models will assist the practitioner in gathering and analysing relevant information in order to focus on early identification gathering and analysing relevant information in order to focus on early identification of concern, risk, need and strengths in order to inform initial recommendations, based on a continuum of responses ranging from early community based intervention with low risk cases to intensive work with the most high risk groups, often in out of home settings.

They will indicate to the practitioner, either progress to a comprehensive assessment and/or plan delivery of interventions.

Ultimately, the models do not make decisions for assessors but can support decision making. They are drawn on current evidence; understanding and thinking which should inform and influence good practice.

All the models emphasise the importance of using the assessment process to engage young people and their families in a process that they can view as fair, just and beneficial.

From 2019 we offer our courses on two levels: Foundation and Advanced

We have restructured our courses to set out clearly our two different levels of training: Foundation and Advanced. Foundation courses are one day basic awareness courses, open to a wide range of practitioners and levels of experience, and our Advanced courses are two-day in-depth courses which train participants how to use our models and guidance. These will be targeted at experienced practitioners, who have a good basic awareness of (HSB). This clarity is to facilitate training commissioners in deciding what level of training their staff require in order for the participants to be able to maximise their learning from the course.

The Advanced Courses are:

  • AIM3 Assessment for Adolescents Who Display HSB
  • AIM Assessment & Intervention for Children Under 12 Who Display HSB
  • AIM Intervention Guidance for Adolescents Who Display HSB
  • Technology-Assisted HSB Practice Guidance (TA-HSB)
  • Restorative Practice and HSB (Skills based)
  • Siblings and Restorative Practice re HSB
  • AIM Training for Managers/Supervisors

Two Day Advanced Courses

All our advanced courses are two days and are designed to build on previous knowledge of HSB, either through attendance on our foundation courses, or through relevant practice experience, therefore they are pitched at a more advanced level of practice knowledge and understanding. The courses cover the AIM models for assessment and intervention for children and adolescents and also specialist topics such as Technology-Assisted HSB, Restorative Justice and Restorative Practice Approaches and Sibling HSB. It also includes a Manager/ Supervisor’s Course.

Attendance Criteria:

Practitioners must have at least a basic understanding of HSB, gained through our foundation courses or relevant practice experience.

For all the assessment courses, participants need to have experience in complex assessments generally and ideally experience of working with HSB.

For the Technology Assisted HSB course, there is an additional requirement that the participants have some previous experience in working with this on their case loads

For the Intervention Course, there is a requirement that the participants have experience of assessment work and/or direct work with children and young people.

 Provision of certification for completing the entire course

We now intend only to provide certificates for practitioners who complete a full course, due to our concern that partial completion of courses may impact on the effectiveness of later practice. We totally understand the pressures of work and home life and there may be short periods of absence, that may be negotiable with the trainer, but by a full course we mean, that the trainer is satisfied that the participant has attended all the significant aspects of the understanding and application of the model or guidance.

All the Assessment frameworks are available (or shortly to become available) in our range of publications. These are listed in our store section accessible by clicking on the link aimproject.org.uk

Please note that publications are only available when linked to training and individual copies can only be purchased if the buyer has been already trained by the AIM Project.

March 2019