Is this sexual abuse? report

Last updated: 10 Apr 2018 Topics: Safeguarding children Type: News article

The NSPCC has analysed the concerns raised by people contacting the NSPCC helpline and Childline about peer sexual abuse.

Author: NSPCC
Published: 2018

The report highlights

  • how peer sexual abuse takes places
  • the impact that it has on children and young people
  • how to provide support after peer sexual abuse
  • how to prevent this abuse from happening

Key findings

  • many adults contacting the helpline seek advice about which sexualised behaviours are part of ‘normal’ sexual development and what are harmful or abusive
  • parents and professionals do not always know how to respond appropriately to a child who displays harmful sexualised behaviour or who have experienced peer sexual abuse
  • peer sexual abuse can take place in a range of settings, such as school, home, public spaces, parties, friend’s house and online
  • young people can be confused about whether they have experienced peer sexual abuse for various reasons (for example being confused about what is ‘normal’ sexual activity or not knowing whether or not they gave consent)
  • children and young people are often reluctant to disclose about peer sexual abuse
  • experiencing peer sexual abuse can have a long lasting impact on a young person and in some cases could result in symptoms associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Further information

 Download the full report from the NSPCC website

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