Child sexual abuse (CSA) involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening.
It might involve physical contact, including penetrative, that may mean rape or oral sex, or non-penetrative acts like touching. Sexual abuse can happen to both girls and boys. The abusers can be men or women.
Importantly sexual abuse doesn’t always include contact with a child. It could mean involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual online images, watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Suffering any kind of sexual abuse is deeply upsetting and can leave a child feeling frightened, confused and vulnerable.
This page provides professionals with tools and guidance to identify the risks and signs of sexual abuse and to support victims and those affected by CSA.
Last year, practitioners across Wiltshire gathered for the WSCB Full Board event which focused on recognising and responding to child sexual abuse.
Presenters included Dr Debbie Allnock, Senior Research Fellow, University of Bedfordshire, who talked about research findings related to intra-familial child sexual abuse. View the full presentation here.
This resource is designed to support practitioners to use research evidence to structure their thinking in relation to intra-familial child sexual abuse (IFCSA). The practice tool provides helpful information on:
Child Sexual Abuse Practice Tool
- Risk factors and vulnerabilities associated with child sexual abuse.
- Indicators associated with intra-familial child sexual abuse.
- Protective factors associated with intra-familial child sexual abuse.
Intra-familial child sexual abuse vulnerability template – this is a mapping tool to use to assess the evidence you have gathered. Social Workers are most likely to use this tool but it could be used by other professionals as a framework for thinking about concerns they may have.
This tool supports professionals working with children and young people by helping them to identify and respond appropriately to sexual behaviours. The tool uses a traffic light system to categories the sexual behaviours of young people and is designed to help professionals:
- Make decisions about safeguarding children and young people
- Assess and respond appropriately to sexual behaviour in children and young people
- Understand healthy sexual development and distinguish it from harmful behaviour
This tool lists examples of presenting sexual behaviours within four age categories. All green, amber and red behaviours require some form of attention and response, but the type of intervention will vary according to the behaviour. This tool must be used within the context of the guidance provided and should not be used in isolation
Wiltshire has Harmful Sexual Behaviour Protocol for use when there is suspicion, allegation or observation of a child or young person having carried out harmful sexual behaviour (HSB).
For more information
NSPCC – information and resources on sexual abuse
Let’s talk PANTS – Talking PANTS is a simple way that parents can help keep children safe from abuse. Join Pantosaurus and get the conversation started.
- Centre of expertise on CSA – established to help bring about significant and system wide change in how CSA is responded to locally and nationally. Funded by the Home office and led by Barnardo’s
- Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, understanding risk and vulnerability – review looking at risk indicators and protective factors for Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation. Carried out by Coventry University on behalf of the Early Intervention Foundation, and funded by the Home Office
- National institute for Health and Care Excellence – various links to useful research on CSA
- Parents Protect – an information and resources website which aims to raise awareness about child sexual abuse, answer questions and give adults the information, advice, support and facts, they need to help protect children
- Stop it Now! UK and Ireland is a child sexual abuse prevention campaign and is run by the Lucy Faithfull Foundation
- MOSAC – voluntary organisation supporting non-abusing parents and carers of sexually abused children
- Survivors UK helps men who have been sexually abused and raises awareness of their needs. Sexual violation includes both childhood sexual abuse and adult sexual assault/rape
- NAPAC – registered charity supporting recovery from childhood abuse
- IISCA – Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
- Neglect, Intra-familial Child Sexual Abuse: Evidence Scope 2 – Exploring the relationship between neglect and adult perpetrated intra-familial child sexual abuse
- Children’s Commissioner – Icelandic model, Barnahus, Children’s House was identified as a method of supporting victims of child abuse – currently being used in a London Borough
- RiP – Supporting evidence-informed practice with children and families