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.

Research Messages

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.

Centre of Expertise on CSA: Key Messages from research on Intra-Familial Child Sexual Abuse.


Child Sexual Abuse Practice Tool

Intra-familial child sexual abuse: risk factors, indicators and protective factors (Research in Practice) – Practice Tool

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:=

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.

Centre of Expertise on CSA: Key messages from research on children and young people who display harmful sexual behaviour.

Operation Meteor

Operation Meteor was the biggest investigation into child sexual abuse ever in Wiltshire – presentation from the Operation Meteor Learning Event, 4.3.2019.

Download Learning from Operation Meteor and Child Sexual Abuse Here.

Reporting Abuse you experienced as a child

Any adult who has experienced abuse as a child can report the harm they have suffered.  This leaflet gives information about how to report and get help and support. Reporting abuse you experienced as a child

For More Information

  • NWG Network – Have recently produced a leaflet that aims to be an Online Sexual Harm Reduction Guide.
  • NSPCC – information and resources on sexual abuse
  • 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
  • RiP – Supporting evidence-informed practice with children and families