New campaing urges child protection from sexual abuse

A campaign that aims to keep the spotlight on the issue of child sexual abuse has been launched by CHILDREN 1ST.

As individuals and organisations across the globe join together to mark World Day for the Prevention of Abuse and Violence against Children, Scotland’s leading children’s charity launched its See. Hear. Speak. Act on sexual abuse campaign.

Anne Houston, Chief Executive of CHILDREN 1ST, said: “Recent events have broken the taboo around child sexual abuse. We must not lose sight of the fact that this is about children who have been sexually abused.

“We are launching this campaign because it’s everybody’s responsibility to protect children. We need to open our eyes, listen to children and help them speak up when things are wrong. And we also need to act. More needs to be done to protect children and to help them recover from sexual abuse and harm.

“At CHILDREN 1ST we know that timing is key to helping children who have been sexually abused. The sooner they are listened to and taken seriously, the sooner they can be supported to recover.

“This campaign is about saying to people: if you think a child is being sexually abused you must act. If a child is in immediate danger contact the police or social work. If you are unsure what to do you can contact our ParentLine Scotland service for free and confidential advice.”

The charity, formerly the RSSPCC, said 11% of the children, young people and families it worked with last year had been impacted by sexual abuse*.

Sexual abuse can have a lasting, harmful effect on children. The charity runs a number of services throughout Scotland which support children to recover from sexual abuse and harm.

But of the wide range of services provided by CHILDREN 1ST, the waiting lists for these services are among the longest.

Anne Houston added: “Children and young people who have been sexually abused should not be waiting for counselling and support. We want to see services like ours available in every community in Scotland.”

CHILDREN 1ST is a longstanding supporter of World Day for the Prevention of Abuse and Violence against Children. It was established in 2000 to act as a global rallying point around the issue of child abuse and the need for effective prevention programmes.