Posted on April 12th, 2012
The release of figures in April 2012 from the NSPCC, that a child is sexually abused every 20 minutes, really puts the picture together on sexual abuse; that it occurring more commonly than most people expect. Avocet Independent Social Workers work with cases of sexual abuse and look to put the needs of the child first. However in order to provide support, the problem of sexual abuse is particularly challenging because of the private nature of offences as well as limited numbers of offences actually being reported.
With 60 cases of sexual abuse being reported per day, it is clear that there is a significant problem; Jon Brown, the head of the NSPCC’s sexual abuse programme himself said, “When you have a situation where more than 60 children are being sexually abused every day, something is very wrong”. Dealing with this however, is where the real problem arises. The fact that most child sexual abuse occurs in a setting that is not visible for witnesses, makes reporting problematic as manipulations such as fear due to threats may prevent the victim themselves from reporting the abuse.
Initiatives such as the new NSPCC “Don’t wait until you’re certain” campaign aim to make people more aware that if they suspect abuse there is someone to talk to. By increasing levels of reporting, it allows for authorities to become involved in trying to help the child in a potentially threatening situation. It is the problem of reporting that may be leaving children in situations where they are subject to sexual abuse. Awareness of the signs of abuse and getting in contact with authorities, the general public can help to assist in getting children out of circumstances of abuse. Over 23,000 offences of sexual abuse to children were reported last year but how many were not?
New government policy such as Sarah’s Law, implemented in 2011, has helped to raise awareness of sex offenders with some success in its first year. This has allowed for a proactive step to be taken in preventing child sexual abuse; by giving people access to whether their new partner for example, has previous sexual convictions can help to prevent re-offending and further victims of abuse. This proactive approach is beneficial to preventing abuse before it occurs. Services such as Avocet work to help those who have been subject to abuse as well as preventing circumstances where further abuse could occur.
The aim that all the Social Workers at Avocet have is to put the needs of the child as the priority; by ensuring that they are in a situation that is safe for them and that they will not be subject to abuse. It is down to the reporting of cases that allows Avocet to work for the needs of the child. Hopefully the release of these statistics from the NSPCC will help to make people more aware of the occurrence of abuse and thusly more likely to report it.
This month’s blogger – CM.
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