Child sexual abuse is a major public health problem affecting more than a million children under the age of 16 in the UK.
All available evidence indicates that the risk to children has grown during the Covid-19 pandemic. And that’s why we must be stronger, bolder and more innovative in 2020-2025. Our skills and our commitment are needed more than ever.
Read our strategy for how we will work to protect children now and in the future.
Imagine... if all adults who pose a sexual risk to children get help before they harm a child. Imagine too that all adults responsible for children understood everything they need to know about child sexual abuse to prevent harm occurring in the first place and, crucially, can access confidential help when they need it.
We are already working to make this a reality, by offering free and confidential help through our Stop It Now! helpline, and by equipping parents, carers and frontline workers – teachers, police officers, probation workers, health care and social workers – with prevention information and sources of help, face-to-face, over the phone and online. We have the expertise, knowledge and resources, but we need to do more and reach further if we are to realise our vision.
Imagine... if, through research and development, we could anticipate the next serious risk that children might face – and create preventative interventions and campaigns ahead of time.
We are already working to make this a reality, by expanding our cutting-edge research into the changing trends and new risks to children and sharing our data and insights with partner organisations We are developing interventions in the dark web, in social media spaces, and in relation to young people’s own behaviours. But there is much more to do. We now need to expand our research, refine existing services and develop new ones. As the risks to children change, our services must always be evolving.
Imagine... if government decisions put children’s safety first, and public policy and services were designed with the prevention of abuse – rather than the response after abuse – at its core.
We are already working to make this a reality, by taking every opportunity to engage with policy and decision makers across the UK and internationally, to stress for a public health approach to preventing child sexual abuse. We are helping to shape policy development – but we need to do more to support the best policies across governments at home and abroad that invest in the prevention of child sexual abuse and have a real impact in protecting children.
Over the next five years we will focus our efforts on making our vision a reality.
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