The guide has been released early in response to the recent Jimmy Saville sex abuse claims. Since the distressing news emerged, the NSPCC has seen a 60% surge in calls reporting concerns over possible sexual abuse.
More than one third of the calls are made by the child’s own parent.
According to research, 80% of sexual offences take place either in the home of the victim or the home of the offender. Sexual abuse is often administered by friends, family members, or adults who hold a position of trust.
Unlike cases of neglect and physical abuse, child sex abuse often has few physical signs. This means that it is more vital than ever for parents to notice sudden behavioural changes in their child.
According to the NSPCC guide, behavioural signs that a child has been sexually abused include:
- becoming clingy and withdrawn
- developing a seemingly irrational fear of certain people or places
- starting to use objects and toys in a sexual way.
John Cameron, head of the NSPCC’s helpline, said: “As a parent, knowing or suspecting your child is being sexually abused can be incredibly traumatic.”
Even if the abuse is over and the parents have dealt with the situation themselves, the abuser needs to be reported to prevent them from reoffending.
Whenever a sex abuse case is reported, the greatest care is taken to protect the child and bring the abuser to justice.
To find out how counselling could help a child deal with trauma caused by sex abuse, please read our Sexual Abuse page.
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