Child Sexual Abuse

What is Child Sexual Abuse?

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities. It may not involve a high level of violence. The child may not be aware or understand what is happening to them, or that it is wrong for the abuser to do this to them.

Sexual abuse may involve:

  • Physical contact including assault by penetration (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing.
  • Non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet).

Woman can be perpetrators of sexual abuse, as well as other children.

How to tell if a child's sexual behaviour is appropriate for their age

Find out more from Parents Protect

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What to do

If you believe a child is in immediate danger , always call 999.

If you're worried about a child contact the Children's Reception Team on 0300 300 0117.
Or, call Stop It Now on 0808 1000 900 , use their live chat or send a secure email using their website.

You do not need to know everything about the child before making contact.

Child Sexual Abuse Toolkit (

For younger children

NSPCC Talk PANTS helps children understand their body belongs to them. It helps them understand they should tell an adult they trust if something makes them feel upset or worried.

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Family Safety plan

Making a family safety plan can help keep your child safe from sexual abuse. It’s important to think about the things a family can do to keep everyone safer.

It's important to get help if you suspect something is wrong, rather than waiting for evidence of harm.

Parents Protect explains further what a family safety plan ( is and how to create one.

Child sexual abuse investigations: A guide for parents and carers

The Child sexual abuse investigations: A guide for parents and carers gives practical information about what will happen if there is an investigation about your child being sexually abused.

Parents and carers guide here (PDF)