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Child Sexual Abuse

Research by the NSPCC reveals that sex offences against children remain close to record levels and in 2022/23 there were almost 87,000 offences against children recorded by police; this include rape, sexual assault, grooming and sexual exploitation.


Sexual Abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing, and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse. Sexual abuse can take place online, and technology can be used to facilitate offline abuse. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.

Further definitions can be found in the West Midlands Procedures here.

Signs and IndicatorsA template for identifying and responding to concerns of child sexual abuse. It helps professionals to gather the wider signs and indicators of sexual abuse and build a picture of their concerns.

Child Sexual Abuse Response PathwayAn online tool for professionals to help them understand the steps they can take to protect and support young people and their families. It sets out how to respond to concerns that a child may be being sexually abused at key points: from first concerns and early help safeguarding through to child protection and criminal justice responses.

Communicating with children: A guide for those working with children who have or may have been sexually abused. This guide aims to help you communicate with children in relation to child sexual abuse, including when you have concerns that such abuse is happening.

Supporting parents and carersA guide for those working with families affected by child sexual abuse. This guide helps professionals provide a confident, supportive response when concerns about the sexual abuse of a parent or carers child have been raised or identified.

Safety Planning in EducationA guide to support education professionals’ knowledge, skills and confidence to understand and respond to incidents of harmful sexual behaviour and ensure the safety of all children and young people is addressed.

Managing risk and trauma after online sexual offending: A resource which has been designed to aid professionals’ thinking and decision-making when assessing and supporting a family where a parent is under police investigation for accessing child sexual abuse material.

Sibling sexual behaviour: A guide for professionals working with children and families where there are concerns about sexual behaviour involving siblings.

Supporting practice film series: The CSA Centre have produced an accompanying 12-part short film series which distils key information from these resources quickly and accessibly for professionals.  These films are designed for anyone whose role brings them into contact with children and young people under 18 years old or their parents or carers; including social workers, teachers, police officers, health professionals, voluntary-sector workers or faith leaders/workers – whether they are new to the role, still in training or highly experienced.

Introductory eLearning Course – Identifying and responding to intra-familial child sexual abuse: This course is for anyone working with children to understand what intra-familial child sexual abuse is, provide guidance on how to identify concerns and build knowledge and confidence in how to respond to support both the children and their wider family.