Northern Ireland

Queen's University given £250,000 for children's PTSD project

Queen's University
Image caption Queen's University has received £264,000 for its work on helping children with PTSD

More than £250,000 has been given to Queen's University for a project aimed at helping children suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The grant will enable 10 social workers to be trained to help children with PTSD as a result of abuse and neglect.

Children identified by family support services as maltreated will benefit.

Effects of a specific therapy called trauma-focused cognitive behaviour therapy on children aged 10 to 18 will be assessed as part of the scheme.

'Impact under-assessed'

It will also examine how cost-effective it is to screen abused children for PTSD.

Dr John Devaney from the Belfast university, who is an expert in child safeguarding, will lead the study.

"There is clear evidence that children who have been abused or neglected go on to experience problems including PTSD, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse and aggressive behaviour," he said.

"There are concerns that the impact of abuse and neglect is currently under-assessed."

'Timely intervention'

He added that the need for therapy often goes "unrecognised", and that can have "lifelong consequences".

"This project will help to train professionals to identify children who have been traumatised by maltreatment so that they can receive timely psychological intervention," he said.

The grant of £264,000 to the university for the project is from the NSPCC and Economic and Social Research Council.

The study, undertaken in partnership with the charity Extern, will start in early 2017 and last for two years.