We have become more aware of child sexual abuse due to media coverage and often hear stories about children who are abused or exploited. Often the abuser is someone known to the parents or carer and a person in a position of trust and responsibility. An abuser may be someone known by the parent and unlikely to be a suspect, such as a partner, friend or relative. Abusers can be extremely skilled at gaining trust and manipulating their way into the lives of children and their parents or carers. Some children will find it very difficult to disclose that they have been abused and are more likely to show signs of abuse in their behaviour. In order to protect children from abusers we must speak to them about sexual abuse and encourage them to speak to us or ask questions about sexual behaviours they may have concerns about.
If an adult or young person displays one or more of the following signs around your child, your child may be at risk. For example:
In order to protect our children it is important that we speak with children about sexual abuse and that they have support in place if they do need to talk to someone. We need to be aware of potential risk, indicators of abuse and how to deal with disclosures.
The Underwear Rule is an NSPCC campaign designed to help parents keep their children safe from sexual abuse, for more information visit: nspcc.org.uk/underwearrule
If you are reading this and feel concerned about a child we have included telephone numbers of both local and national agencies and some websites that may be helpful. Please contact us directly if you have any questions or require our support.
At RASASC we offer a Counselling and ISVA support service to Children and Young people up to the age of 18 who have been affected either directly or indirectly by sexual violence/abuse. Along with qualified Children’s Play Therapists, we also have two specialist Independent Sexual Violence Advisors working in Cheshire and Merseyside who are experienced in working specifically with children and young people. As well as offering practical advice and guidance through reporting sexual violence, the Child ISVA will also complete care plans with children and parents/carers in order to address any particular needs you may have and work with other agencies to ensure the right support is provided to enable you to move forward from sexual assault.
Child ISVAs are there to make sure that the Young person’s voice is heard and their wishes are considered throughout the Criminal Justice Process and to make sure they feel prepared should their case go to court.
Face to face support sessions and initial meetings can be completed in one of our local RASASC centres throughout Cheshire and Merseyside (depending on the child’s age) or Children’s centres are often used for a more child friendly environment.
Here at RASASC we have an information line that is open Monday to Friday from 9am until 4pm. You can call up for initial advice and information from a specialist worker who can take a referral for our services and also signpost you to other agencies that might be of help to you. We accept self-referrals as well as referrals from professionals within other agencies. We will listen to you, we will respect you and we will believe you.
0330 363 0063 or 01925 221546
Please note the information line is for advice, guidance and referrals. If you require immediate support please contact the police on 999 in an emergency or 101 in non-emergencies.
You can also email the information line for advice on: email@example.com
MOSAC (national helpline for non-abusing parents/carers of sexually abused children)
Helpline: 0800 980 1958
Thinkuknow (Advice and information for Young people/carers and teachers around keeping safe on the internet)
NSPCC (National Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) 0808 800 5000
Respond (specialist support for abused children with learning disabilities) 0845 606 1503
Parents protect (offering a wealth of knowledge, advice, support and facts for parents and carers around protecting children from sexual abuse) 0808 1000 900
Parentline (helpline for parents/carers) 0808 800 2222
Stop it now (Child sexual abuse prevention campaign) H0808 1000 900
Samaritans (24hr emotional support line) 08457 90 90 90
Young Minds Parents Helpline (Online and telephone support, including advice, to any adult worried about the emotional problems, behaviour or mental health of a child or young person)