KIEM Project | Chatbots against sexual abuse

Can a chatbot teach social workers to deal with sexual abuse cases among minors?

Youth care and youth protection professionals work with young people and families on a wide spectrum of areas. In their work, they apply general skills that can be used for all target groups (e.g. building rapport, motivating) and skills that are targeted towards specific situations. Professionals are, for example, also working to spot and prevent abuse in a timely fashion, including sexual child abuse.

After an initial training, professionals generally receive training in the work place for such situations. These are usually short courses that are geared towards in practice application. These trainings do not seem to be enough though. Professionals find it difficult to actually apply what they learned practice. It doesn’t help that, despite receiving trainings on how to practice sex education for young people in homes and foster families, they are often still reluctant to bring up the topic.

A more accessible way of training professionals in shorter sprints, over a longer time span may help. Perhaps regularly applying their training in conversations with a chatbot can help bridge the practice gap.

We’ve teamed up with Amsterdam Kenniscentrum voor Matschappelijke Innovatie (AKMI) to explore just that. Together, we worked on designing a chatbot that can train social workers in dealing with conversations around sexual abuse cases among children and keep their knowledge up to date. We also conducted sessions in which we trained social care experts how to  conceptualise, visualise and translate their knowledge into a chatbot, so that they can build their own variations and adaptations in the future. We’ve further supported the group in conducting preliminary user tests on a chatbot prototype.

We know that technology, when deployed responsibly and co-created with domain experts has the potential to bring about important and necessary positive transformation. We’ve made one step further with KIEM, but many more still need to be made so…


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