Sexual Abuse can affect every aspect of a child’s development. Individuals are affected differently and to varying degrees
Therefore a key priority for Walsall Safeguarding Children Board is to support the local and professional community to recognise and respond to child sexual abuse (non CSE) in a child centred way.
As a partnership, what we want to achieve and the actions underpinning this priority are:
WSCB have been working on raising awareness of sexual abuse across the partnership, NSPCC PANTS campaign was launched in June 2017. The campaign uses the Underwear Rule to support and encourage parents and professionals to talk to children aged 4-11 about how to keep themselves safe from sexual abuse.
Sexually harmful behaviour is the term used to describe children or young people who sexually abuse other children, young people or adults. The sexual abuse perpetrated by children can be just as harmful as that perpetrated by an adult, so it is important to remember the impact on the victim of the abuse as well as to focus on the treatment of the child or young person exhibiting the sexually harmful behaviour.
Abusive/inappropriate behaviour is often characterised by a lack of true consent, the presence of a power imbalance and exploitation.
The boundary between what is abusive and what is part of normal childhood or youthful experimentation can be blurred. The ability of professionals to determine whether a child’s sexual behaviour is developmental, inappropriate or abusive will depend upon the related concepts of true consent, power imbalance and exploitation. This may include children who exhibit a range of sexually problematic behaviour such as indecent exposure, obscene telephone calls, fetishism, bestiality and sexual abuse against adults or children and downloading indecent images of children from the internet.
Children and young people, particularly living away from home, are vulnerable to physical, sexual and emotional bullying and abuse by their peers. Such abuse should always be taken as seriously as abuse perpetrated by an adult. It should be the same safeguarding children procedures as apply in respect of any child who is suffering or at risk of suffering Significant Harm from an adverse source.
A significant proportion of sex offences are committed by teenagers and, on occasion, such offences are committed by younger children. Staff and carers of children living away from home need clear guidance and training to identify the difference between consenting and abusive, and between appropriate and exploitative peer relationships. Staff should not dismiss some abusive sexual behaviour as “normal” between young people and should not develop high thresholds before taking action.
Anyone who has a concern that a child might have been abused by another child should refer their concerns to Children’s Social Care Services in accordance with the Referrals Procedure. Allegations of peer abuse will be taken as seriously as allegations of abuse perpetrated by an adult. The Children’s Social Care Services team will discuss the concerns with the referrer and, based on the Single Assessment so far, decide whether it is necessary to hold a Strategy Discussion/Meeting and carry out a full Single Assessment and Section 47 Enquiry.
Crisis Point (01922 722777) http://www.crisispoint.org.uk
Counselling and support service offers:
ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advocate) support service
Counselling service – specialist long term psychotherapy
WPH Counselling & Education Service (01922 649000) http://www.wphcounselling.org/ – for Walsall children 11 yrs + (younger children can be seen as part of a family group)
Horizon – Sexual Assault Referral Centre (0808 168 5698) – (0-19 yrs)http://www.horizonsarc.org.uk/
Horizon Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) provides people who have experienced rape and sexual assault within the West Midlands with support and advice to assist in their recovery.
Please see out Briefing note on CSA for recent case learning