Putting the spotlight on sexual abuse

Stronger evidence into what works will help us provide more effective help for children who've been sexually abused, says Peter Wanless

girl paintingSexual abuse has a devastating impact on children and young people. The long-term effects of sexual abuse can have significant consequences on a child's health and development, as well as their behaviour and relationships with others. Effects that can last a lifetime. 

It's estimated that 1 in 20 children in the UK have been sexually abused, and a high number of those cases go unreported. All too often the child doesn't understand what is happening to them, or even that the abuse is wrong. 

Yet when they come forward, many children are left struggling to get the support they need due to lengthy waiting times and a lack of available services in the area. 

Helping children after sexual abuse

We know with the right help and support, it's possible for children to get back on track after abuse.

We're working hard to build a strong evidence base around therapeutic support for children who've been abused.

It's crucial that we know what works to make sure children are getting the right help they so desperately need to rebuild their lives.

Over the next 2 weeks we'll share with you the findings from our new landmark study into therapeutic support for children who've been abused. 

It's Time to take action

As part of our It's Time campaign, we're calling for every child and young person who has been sexually abused to get the help they need to rebuild their life. 

Sign the petition now

Therapeutic support can help children who've been sexually abused

The new landmark study on our Letting the Future In service provides promising evidence that therapeutic support delivered by social work professionals can help children recover from the trauma of being sexually abused.

We commissioned the Universities of Bristol and Durham to conduct what became the largest multi-site randomised control trial (RCT) in the world for sexual abuse intervention. The study proves it's possible to carry out a rigorous 'real world' trial to evaluate sexual abuse intervention services and build the evidence base to provide more effective help.

We're now extending Letting the Future In into 2 new services - Hear and Now, and Letting the Future In for children with learning disabilities.

Hear and Now

1 in 3 children who experience sexual abuse don't tell anyone in childhood. Hear and Now is a new approach to providing therapeutic support to children who professionals have concerns about because of worrying signs that something is wrong and sexual harm is a background feature.

Learn more

Letting the Future In for learning disabled children

Disabled children are 3 times more likely to be sexually abused, that's why we're piloting an adapted version of ou Letting the Future In service for learning disabled children. We'll be applying learnings from our Letting the Future In evaluation into the development of this service.

Learn more about Letting the Future In

Learning from services that work

Our sexual abuse services work directly with children and families across the UK, and are thoroughly researched and evaluated to make sure that the approaches we take are the right ones.