A report by the children’s commissioner found that as much as 85% of child sex abuse cases go unreported and around 67% of such cases occurred “within families or their trusted circles.”
A BBC article today summarised the report prepared by children’s commissioner Anne Longford, and found that particularly in the case of young children being groomed, some were not even aware that an offence was being committed against them.
Much can be said about the stigma surrounding cases of child sex abuse, especially when occurring within the family environment. However the report has found that beyond the stigma is a much more serious problem: are children as young as three able to understand that they are being abused, and are they able to seek help?
It is clear to see that when being groomed, being gifted expensive presents and treated specially would counter any notion in a child’s mind that they are being harmed. Failing that, even if the child becomes aware that something about their situation is not right, it might still be near impossible to seek help for countless reasons, from fear of retribution, to shame and embarrassment, to simply being unable to vocalise exactly what is happening.
A child cannot be expected to know of such things or to understand that they are not to blame. Clearly then, as the report suggests, we must be aware of the signs that a child is being abused, and it must be emphasised to everyone, from teachers and doctors to neighbours and friends, that these signs must be looked out for and must be reported. We have written an article on what signs to look out for, which can be accessed here.
If you have been the victim of child sex abuse or know someone who has, and would like to speak to one of our specialist team of abuse lawyers, contact us in confidence on 0800 9555 094.