A joint, local campaign led by the two Local Safeguarding Children Boards and the NSPCC
Why should we be concerned about child sexual abuse (CSA) and sexual assaults against children?
We all want our children and young people to grow up without the fear and negative impacts caused by sexual abuse as these issues can have a massive and long-lasting impact on their future lives and wellbeing. Sexual abuse as a child can lead to acute feelings of betrayal, powerlessness, stigmatisation, guilt and traumatic sexualisation, as well as difficulties in forming and maintain relationships, mental health related problems resulting from trauma and physical health problems
We know from the volume of historic child sexual abuse cases that have emerged in the past decade that many children have suffered abuse, often carried out by those who were trusted to work with them in wide range of settings including care homes, sports and activity clubs, schools, hospitals, the church and within their own home and family. Historic abuse victims have usually carried the burden of their abuse for many years and paid the cost of this in terms of their family lives and mental/physical well-being before they feel able to disclose the abuse in their adult life.
What is Child Sexual Abuse?
Broadly there are two different types of child sexual abuse; contact abuse and non-contact abuse.
- The growth of the internet and use of social media has fuelled a significant increase in the volume of non-contact abuse: 1,300 crimes reported in the first 6 months of the new Sexual Communication with a Child legislation according to the NPSCC (March 2018).
- Child Sexual Exploitation and a growth in sexual assaults outside of the home, where children are victims, are further complexities within this type of abuse.
Some children and young people are more vulnerable to child sexual abuse, including those with disabilities, very young children who are non-verbal or those within the care system.
How widespread is Child Sexual Abuse?
Nationally: It is currently estimated that 1 in 20 children in the UK has been sexually abused; that would equate to more than one child per class group in a school.
- In 2015/16 nearly 50,000 known victims of CSA were recorded across the UK.
- 54,000 cases of sexual offences against children were recorded by police in 2015/16.
- 10% of adults were reported to have suffered from sexual abuse before they were aged 16 years.
Locally: In response to national concerns about the scale and scope of sexual abuse involving children, the Local Children’s Safeguarding Boards have been reviewing local data to understand the picture across Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole. Work on this is on-going due to the complexity of the issue and differing data collection methods by statutory and non-statutory organisations. We do know that:
- The number of sexual assault offences recorded by the police, where children were victims, is growing locally
- Whilst a relatively small proportion of children are on child protection plans due to concerns about child sexual abuse, there are significantly more judged to be at risk of child sex abuse within their home/family.
- The NSPCC Helpline referred 32 CSA cases of concern to the local Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hubs in 2016/17. The 1-5 year age group accounted for the largest number of cases (11 of the 32 cases).
It is recognised that we do not currently have sufficient understanding of the nature and scale of child sexual abuse across Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole so we are continuing to explore this further.
Why are the Local Safeguarding Children Boards and the NSPCC launching this campaign?
Child Sexual Abuse is largely preventable. The most effective way of preventing it is to raise awareness and educate children, families, communities and to engage our multi -agency practitioner network in supporting this work. If we can support parents/ carers, schools and childcare settings to regularly share key, age appropriate messages with children from a very young age, this will help them stay safe and understand that:
P Privates are private
A Always remember your body belongs to you
N No means no
T Talk about secrets that upset you
S Speak up someone can help you
To get these messages across in a simple, non-scary way we will be using the NSPCC’s PANTS wide range of resources https://www.nspcc.org.uk/search/?query=pants. These include support packs for parents/carers/foster parents and lesson plans for schools, videos, case studies and even a PANTS song!
The campaign will focus on the younger age group and work through to older children and young people as this year-long campaign rolls out across the local area.
Campaign Launch Events
The campaign will be “kicked off” at two high profile practitioner events on Tuesday 1st May 2018:
- AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium (morning session)
- Dorset County Museum with Dippy the Dinosaur (afternoon session)
Each event will provide a research-based, input by experts in this field, an outline of local campaign plans and an opportunity for multi-agency discussions about how we can spread the campaign out across the area and support practitioners and professionals in having those important conversations to help keep children safe from abuse.
Both events will include a PR photo session and press briefing. Further local and national promotion will be supported by the communications teams from the local authorities, Dorset Police and Dorset Health and AFC Bournemouth, as well as the NSPCC from a regional and national perspective.
The Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Project is being supported by funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office and also includes strands of multi-agency work which aim to:
- Improve multi-agency data collection and analysis related to this type of abuse in order to map and respond to trends
- Ensure that pathways for support for children and families are clear, accessible and sufficient to support demand
- Equip our multi-agency workforce, including schools and early years providers, with the knowledge and confidence to promote prevention messages to children and young people and be able to respond to concerns and disclosures about abuse robustly and with confidence.
- Raise the awareness of parents/carers and children themselves of how to prevent child sexual abuse
For more information please contact:
or visit the NSPCC website https://www.nspcc.org.uk/search/?query=child%20sexual%20abuse