The multi-agency response to child sexual abuse in the family environment. 2020.

Sex abuse in families: Victims are let down by poor prevention work

02 March 2020
Volume 1 · Issue 1


Children who are being sexually abused by family members are going ‘unseen and unheard’ because of a lack of prevention work and poor awareness among professionals

Familial abuse accounts for around two thirds of all child sexual abuse, although the true figure may be higher due to under-reporting. It covers abuse perpetrated by a family member, including a child or adult sibling, or by a person close to, or known to, the family.

A joint-targeted area inspection, focused on six local authority areas across England, has highlighted a number of shortcomings.

The problems centre around ineffective criminal investigations as well as an absence of preventative education work and training for professionals in spotting the signs.

The investigation report—which has been published by Ofsted, HMICFRS, the Care Quality Commission and HMI Probation—says that professionals are relying ‘too heavily on children to speak out about abuse’.

It adds: ‘Children are unlikely to tell someone that they are being sexually abused, particularly when they know the perpetrator. Parents, professionals and the public must understand and know how to respond to the signs and symptoms of child sexual abuse—education is vital.’

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting Journal of Child Health and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for children’s health professionals. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to our clinical or professional articles

  • New content and clinical newsletter updates each month