Current research estimates that one in six girls and one in 20 boys experience child sexual abuse (CSA) before the age of 16. There are an estimated 3.1 million adult victim-survivors of CSA living in England and Wales. This means that we all know someone who has been or is currently being abused.
As a society, we are failing to recognise, respond to, and prevent child sexual abuse.
I’m proud to lead an organisation that’s using this year’s Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week, to call for change for both adult victim-survivors of CSA and for children affected by it now.
The impacts of CSA can be devastating and life-long, affecting victim-survivors, their families, friends, and our communities. These impacts can include mental and physical unwellness, drug and alcohol dependency, a loss of educational and employment opportunities, and a link with suicide.
Many children will never tell anyone that they are being abused when the abuse is happening. We know that, right now, there are children in their homes who are being hurt by the very people who are meant to protect them. Where is the outrage? Where is the action? Let’s stop looking away.
Most campaigning focuses on giving children the tools to ‘stay safe’, but it is time to stop expecting children to protect themselves from abuse and for the safe adults in their lives to step up and prevent it from happening.
What do we want to happen?
- Expert training for anyone who works with children and young people on:
- recognising the signs of abuse
- responding to disclosures of abuse
- understanding the impact of trauma on children and young people.
- Sustainably funded and adequate specialist support for all children and young people affected by sexual abuse, when they need it
- Greater public awareness of child sexual abuse
- A change in the conversation that puts the responsibility for prevention squarely on the shoulders of safe adults.
We will be holding live events on our social media channels throughout the week. You can join in by following us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Every child deserves the right to thrive and grow up in safety. Let’s stop looking away and start building a world where every child can live a life free from violence and abuse.
SARSAS is a support service for people affected by sexual violence. We are a passionate team of specialists who stand alongside those impacted by rape and sexual abuse; listening, believing, and supporting them to reclaim their lives. We campaign and raise awareness to stop it happening to others.
SARSAS offer a freephone helpline and live chat service, e-support, counselling, one-to-one support, and group work. All our services are free and confidential.
We have recently launched a new Sexual Violence Therapies Service in partnership with The Green House, Womankind, Kinergy, Southmead Project, and The Bridge. This service is for people all ages and all genders who have experienced rape, sexual assault or abuse. It has been funded by NHSE and is co-commissioned by NHSE, Avon and Somerset PCC, BNSS-ICB and Bristol Council.
For more information on SARSAS go to our website or watch:
Helpline: 0808 801 0456 or 0808 801 0464 (Monday & Friday 11am – 2pm; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 6pm – 8pm)
Online chat via our website (Tuesday & Thursday 12pm – 2pm, 6pm – 8pm; Wednesday 6pm – 8pm)