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Worried your child is being sexually abused?

Suspecting that your child is being sexually abused is a traumatic experience for any parent or carer. This section can help you to understand what you and your child are feeling, and offer you some practical advice about what to do next.

Parents text content

Suspecting your child is being abused

Sometimes a child’s behaviour changes just as a normal part of growing up.  Remember, however, that you know your child well.  Trust your instincts.  If they are reluctant to go online, they become more secretive, or if they suddenly have things they couldn’t afford, then you need to find out more.  There is a lot of information on this site about the signs that a child is being abused, and you can also seek advice from organisations such as the NSPCC (0808 800 5000).  If you are unsure then one of the best ways to find out is to try to talk to your child about your worries.

Talking to your child

Having a calm and open conversation is one way for you and your child to explore what is happening in an honest and supportive way. This sort of conversation can feel overwhelming but it helps if you make it clear that you are only asking questions because you are worried and want to help. Reassure your child that you are not out to punish them – many children don’t report concerns because they fear that their internet access will be cut off. Pick your moment and bear in mind that children who have been abused will find it very difficult to talk about 

If your child has been abused

Finding out that your child has been sexually abused is traumatic and your own feelings are likely to be intense.

Your child is probably feeling just as scared and worried as you, but they need to know that you will be calm and loving whilst you go through this tough time together. Let them know that your main concern is that they are safe and that you want to help them.

You can report abuse via the CEOP safety centre.

Dealing with your own feelings

Try not to be overwhelmed by your own emotions. You may be fearful, angry or have a sense of guilt - everyone reacts differently.

You can get support, advice and help for yourself from the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.