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26 calls per day to helpline about CSE

There have been 26 contacts to the NSPCC helpline a day on average from people concerned about child sexual exploitation and abuse.

This reached a record high of 4,735 reports from people concerned that a child is or has been sexually exploited and/or abused, a 36% increase in the first six months of 2021/22 when compared to the same six months of 2020-21.

Head of the NSPCC helpline, Kam Thandi, said: “We know people have felt empowered to voice their concerns to our helpline after a surge in publicity about sexual violence towards women and girls and peer-on-peer abuse in schools following the revelations on the Everyone’s Invited website. 

“We are also worried that the risk of abuse has gone up since the start of the pandemic with children more vulnerable and out of sight of the adults who can keep them safe,” she added.

Calls to the helpline about child sexual exploitation and/or abuse included:

  • Worries that a child was being groomed
  • Fears that a child was being abused by adults in positions of authority
  • Intra-familial sexual abuse
  • Experiencing sexual harassment and abuse at the hands of other young people.

Some calls were from adults who suffered non-recent sexual abuse, who had been manipulated and coerced by people they trusted.

Where the time period of the concern was known in 3,560 contacts:

•             40% of the child sexual exploitation and/or abuse was reported to have happened in the last six months

•             60% of the cases were reported to date further back.

Over 1,500 of these calls resulted in referrals to external agencies, such as the police or local authorities for further action. Some people who reported incidents of child sexual abuse did so as a result of the media coverage about testimonies posted on Everyone’s Invited and violence against women and girls.

The NSPCC wants to see more of a multi-agency response across the country where schools, local authorities, the NHS, police, and other safeguarding professionals join forces to protect children. Children who have suffered child sexual abuse must also be able to access special therapeutic support in the areas that they live.

Head of the NSPCC helpline, Kam Thandi, added: “We continue to encourage anyone who has concerns about a child or who has suffered child sexual exploitation and/or abuse to seek help and support, no matter if it happened in the recent or distant past. It is never too late to make a report.

“We all have a role to play in preventing child sexual abuse – and our experts are here to support both adults to spot signs of abuse and share concerns and to give children the chance to speak out and stay safe,” she concluded.

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