It’s Time

We're calling on the government to make sure every child who's experienced abuse gets support. But we need your help.

The story so far

Up to 9 in 10 children who are abused at an early age will go on to develop a mental illness by the time they're 18. But too often, it's only when a child is self-harming or on the brink of suicide that support opens up for them.

It's unacceptable that a child who has lived through abuse needs to be at crisis point before they get help. 

Thank you to everyone who stood up for children and demanded change. With your support, we went to Downing Street to hand in over 30,000 signatures to Government.

Campaign with us

Give a voice to children when no one is listening. Join us to keep children on the political agenda and make sure every child gets support after abuse.

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What you've helped us achieve


31,000 called on the government to count every child who's been abused and need support.


50% of new police and crime commissioner candidates pledged support for our campaign.


The Education Committee backed our call for all children entering care to receive a specialist mental health assessment.

January onwards

20,907 people emailed their MP to demand that every child receives support to MP Jeremy Hunt.

With your support we can:

Count every child

With our petition, we can make it a requirement to count every child who has been abused and needs support. This will show where the gaps are in services.

See where services are needed

We can build a picture of where more services are needed so every child has access to the essential therapeutic support they need.

Support children's mental health

And we can support every child's mental health when they need us most. So that all children are safe, healthy and can achieve everything they're capable of.

How abuse affects young people

Abuse can derail a child's development and mental health. Up to 90% of children abused at an early age will go on to develop mental health issues like depression, self-harm or even suicidal thoughts by the time they're 18. But it doesn't have to be like this.

Therapy can be life-changing

We've learnt that support like talking therapy or play therapy can be life-changing. Sadly, many children don't receive the professional support they need after abuse. But with your help, we can make sure they're able to get support before they reach crisis point.

Research suggests up to 9 in 10 children abused at an early age go on to develop a mental illness by the time they're 18.

Explanation: Based on findings from the Minnesota longitudinal study, which followed the lives of 240 children born at the Minneapolis Department of Public Health and the Hennepin County General Hospital. The study found that 90% of the children who experienced physical abuse, psychological unavailability, neglect or sexual abuse during their early years qualified for at least one psychiatric diagnosis by the age of 17.

See also our It's Time: campaign report.

Our chance to act

The Government has pledged £1.4 billion to improve children's mental health in England over the next 5 years. But we know that abuse can be a key factor for developing mental health issues. Help us make sure there enough services are available to support children who've been abused.

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It's time to listen

"There are only so many times you're left waiting, told you don't meet the criteria for support or help doesn't exist before you start to think you're unimportant, or even that you deserved the abuse."

"It's so important for young people to get the right help early on. If they don't, they can get in a downward spiral that can be really hard to come back from."

"Talking helped me find out that I wasn't going to let what happened define me. My message to anyone who has experienced something similar is never give up, because life can get better."

Children aren't being supported

Professionals: we urgently need more support

Our survey showed that 96% professionals say there isn't enough support for children who've experienced abuse.

Read more

We've seen a rise in calls to Childline about mental health

1 in 3 Childline counselling sessions feature mental health issues in 2015-16.

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Children aren't at the heart of future plans

1 in 3 mental health plans don't reference children who've been abused.

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Children are waiting too long for support

Lack of local services and long waiting times are preventing children getting help after abuse.

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The effects of abuse can be life-changing

Abuse can affect a child's whole life. June Cousins, NSPCC Practitioner tells us why support is so important.

Read more