PG37. Sexual Abuse
For a record of all amendments and updates, see the Amendments & Archives.
Specific definitions of key concepts used by safeguarding practitioners are available through the Glossary.This chapter was added in September 2023.
1. Supporting a Confident Response to Child Sexual Abuse
|Far more children are being sexually abused than are coming to the attention of professionals. In fact, conservative estimates suggest one in ten children will experience some form of child sexual abuse before the age of 16. A lot is known about child sexual abuse; some progress has been made in addressing the needs of children and their families, whilst considering the risks posed by adults and children who sexually harm, but there remain many gaps in knowledge and understanding which limit how effectively this is tackled.
2. The Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse
|The Centre of expertise on child sexual abuse (CSA Centre) is a multi-disciplinary team, funded by the Home Office, hosted by Barnardo’s, who work closely with key partners from academic institutions, local authorities, health, education, police, and the voluntary sector. The CSA Centre wants children to be able to live free from the threat and harm of sexual abuse. Their aim is to reduce the impact of child sexual abuse through improved prevention and a better-informed response.
|The CSA Centre has created an online resource for all professionals working with children to help them understand the steps they can take to protect and support children and their families. Underpinning this is a suite of resources and guides to support more effective, confident professional practice in response to child sexual abuse. Both the online resource and the supporting guides are designed for all professionals whose roles brings them into contact with children, and their families, when there may be concerns or reports that a child is being or has been sexually abused. They are therefore particularly relevant to social workers, teachers, police officers, health professionals and those in the voluntary sector who work with children and families.
|The online resource aims to bring clarity to professionals’ responsibilities and actions at key points, to meet children and family needs for safety and support and address wider wellbeing. It seeks to do this not just by telling professionals what to do, but in helping them to understand how to do it too. Advice is provided about all forms of child sexual abuse, including intrafamilial child sexual abuse, sibling sexual abuse, harmful sexual behaviour, abuse in online contexts and extra-familial sexual harm.
The information and guidance within this has been robustly developed by listening to people with lived experience, professionals and specialists; explaining how the needs of the child or young person can be met throughout their contact with services. It has three main aims:
|Local Safeguarding Children Partnerships in London are encouraged to implement the resources and best practice guidance into practice in a way that supports frontline practitioners across the partnership. What follows in the subsequent pages of this resource is the product of that collaboration.
|Click here to access the online resource.
Alongside the online resource, the CSA Centre has developed additional resources and guides to support professionals in identifying and responding to child sexual abuse: