Sarah Champion urges public health campaign to tackle child sexual abuse ‘crisis’

A nationwide public health campaign is needed to tackle the child sexual abuse “crisis”, an MP has urged.

Labour MP Sarah Champion (Rotherham) told MPs such a campaign would “raise awareness and importantly reduce the stigma” for survivors of abuse.

In a debate on the support available for adult survivors of sexual abuse, Ms Champion (pictured) said it was “a public health crisis” that needed greater action.

She added: “The numbers of affected adults are in the millions scattered across the four nations of the United Kingdom.

“The trauma of this abuse has severe implications for a survivor’s mental wellbeing. In turn, this negatively affects their relationships, work and financial security.

“Fortunately the solution lies before us. The Government can ensure frontline professionals are curious about a person’s trauma and they are able to recognise how trauma may affect a person’s behaviour and wellbeing.

“The Government can fund specialist voluntary sector services to meet demand and continue to improve the NHS pathways.

“The Government can take responsibility for the information available to survivors, it can harness new technologies, encourage better collaboration and prioritise child sexual abuse as a public health issue.”

She added: “We know that abuse can have devastating consequences for a survivor’s mental wellbeing and this impacts on their relationships, work and financial security.

“Knowing the scale of abuse in this country, we cannot keep ignoring the impact on victims and fail to offer them the support they deserve.

“We need a transformative approach. It is within Government’s gift to fund specialist support services to rebuild the lives of survivors. Tinkering around the edges or turning a blind eye is simply not acceptable.”

Responding for the Government, justice minister Edward Argar said child sexual abuse has a “lifelong and life-changing impact on victims”.

He added: “It is therefore essential that high-quality support and information is available to those who need it when they need it.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Nick Ansell / PA Wire.