Child sexual abuse (CSA)
A child is sexually abused when they are forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities. This doesn’t have to be physical contact, and it can happen online. Sometimes the child won’t understand that what’s happening to them is abuse. They may not even understand that it’s wrong.
Details of how professionals should respond to CSA are contained within the LSCB’s online guidance.
The NSPCC provides additional information about CSA and Stop it Now provides support for professionals, those affected by CSA, as well as those concerned about their sexual thoughts or behaviour towards children.
Protecting children from harm (OCC, 2015), a report published by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, highlights the true scale of sexual abuse within the family. It also addresses the challenges associated with responding more proactively to protecting children and young people from such abuse and makes reference to ensuring such efforts meet the expectation set by the Prime Minster who sees this as being a ‘national priority’. From a children’s rights perspective the Children’s Commissioner reminds us that “our duty must be to do all we can to ensure it stops to ensure to children get the childhood they deserve“. The circumstances in which CSA occurs has been subject of much academic research and more recently became a central question to be addressed by the Independent Inquiry Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). An overview of the work undertaken by the inquiry together with emerging themes in respect of learning are contained within the Interim Report published by the IICSA.
If you have any concerns that a child or young person is being sexually exploited call Thames Valley Police on 101.
Helping children and their parents move on from sexual abuse
The NSPCC has provided access to an evaluation of the Letting the Future In service designed by the NSPCC for children aged 4 to 17 years who have been sexually abused. This independent research, from University of Bristol and Durham University, draws on information from the largest randomised controlled trial of a service for children affected by sexual abuse. It provides evidence about what works well in the service and what works less well. This report is part of the NSPCC’s Impact and evidence series.
Harmful sexual behaviour framework
The NSPCC has provided details of a framework developed by the NSPCC which aims to help local areas develop and improve multi-agency responses to children displaying harmful sexual behaviours (HSB). It seeks to provide a coordinated and consistent approach to recognising both the risks and the needs of this vulnerable group.
The framework was developed by the NSPCC, Research in Practice and Professor Simon Hackett with input from a large number of national organisations, local authorities and subject experts.
The NSPCC have also produced a healthy sexual behaviour guide to keeping children safe, spotting warning signs and what to do if you’re worried.
This sexual behaviours traffic light tool is a resource designed to help professionals identify and respond appropriately to sexual behaviours.
NSPCC video about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).