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Children talking to ChildLine about sexual abuse

November 2009

Children talking to ChildLine about sexual abuse ChildLine Casenotes is a series of reports based on analysis of calls to ChildLine, a free confidential helpline for children and young people in the UK provided by the NSPCC.

Children talking to ChildLine about sexual abuse (PDF, 312KB) is our latest report and is based on detailed analysis of calls to ChildLine about sexual abuse from April 2008 to March 2009.

Key findings

  • In 2008/09, ChildLine counselled 12,268 children about sexual abuse as their main problem, representing 8 per cent of all calls answered and the fourth largest main reason for children calling ChildLine that year.

  • In addition, 3,826 children rang ChildLine and were counselled about another problem, but also said that sexual abuse was an additional problem.

  • In total, 16,094 children spoke to ChildLine about sexual abuse as either their main problem or an additional problem, representing 10 per cent of all calls answered.

  • Between 2004/05 and 2008/09, the annual number of children counselled by ChildLine regarding sexual abuse rose from 8,637 to 12,268, giving an overall increase of 42 per cent.

  • Over the past five years (2004/05–2008/09), the rate of percentage increase for sexual abuse for boys counselled by ChildLine has been proportionately higher (129 per cent) than for girls (14 per cent).

  • Family relationship problems constituted the largest additional problem (23 per cent) affecting children when they called about sexual abuse.

Children talking to ChildLine about sexual abuse (PDF, 312KB)



Related reading

Protecting children from sexual abuse: a guide for parents and carers
NSPCC, 2008.

Calls to ChildLine about sexual abuse
NSPCC, 2007.

Child sexual abuse statistics 
Key child protection statistics.