Child sexual abuse is any sexual

Child sexual abuse is any sexual
behaviour directed towards children... adults, male and female,
and by young people themselves.

And it can involve activities
from voyeurism

to the most outrageous sexual offences,
such as rape of children.

But which also now involves
sexual behaviour online.

And this is a growing concern.

On the research today,
approximately one in six children

experience some form
of sexually abusive behaviour.

So we have a serious issue.

We know that very few tell us.
Often they feel shame, guilt,

because the abuser will often put
the guilt onto them for the behaviour.

And impacts can be extensive.

The hardest thing for us as adults
is to try to come to terms with the fact

that we think someone
might be harming our child.

And then what do we do about it and
how do we talk to our child about it?

So I would say first of all, if you do
think someone's harming your child,

for whatever reasons...

It may be nothing to do
with your child's behaviour,

but you're uncomfortable
with someone around your child.

Very difficult to define that.
But if you do feel that,

the first thing you need to do
is talk to someone about it.

And there is a helpline that all adults
can go to to talk about any issues

where they have concerns
that maybe their child is being abused.

And why we need to talk about it is,
it feels such a huge step to take

to actually accuse someone
of sexually harming a child.

And we're probably fearful to do that.
And that's understandable.

But we must make sure

that we protect and keep all children
safe in our society.

When you talk to children you have to
bear in mind their stage of development.

And if you're talking
to a five-year-old,

obviously your approach is going to be
quite different to a 14-year-old.

So you need to know your child

and think of the best way
to approach them on the matter.

Children are going to be holding
a whole lot of guilt

because of the grooming process

and the probably close relationship they
have with the person who's harming them.

They're not going to come out
straight away

and say, "Yes, this has been happening."

And they'll need to know that you won't
be too shocked by what they might say.

So it's about how you give permission
to the child to talk about anything.

Don't interrupt the child. Just
let them tell you in their own words

and in their own way
what has happened.

Obviously check
that the child is alright.

You might want to ask a question or two,
but don't endlessly question the child.

Just let them
in what we call free narrative,

as they tell their tale,
let them do that.

What you need to do is be reassuring.

Try not to be too shocked
or to show that you're shocked.

And also let them know that you will
look after them, keep them safe,

but you will probably have to take
some action about it.

You will need to phone
either the social services department,

which are now called
children's services,

and / or the police,

and let them know you have this concern
and why you have this concern,

and they will make an appointment to
see you or ask you to go and see them.

A big step, I know,

but when you think about if you don't
do that, then this abuse will continue

and the child or children concerned
will then be affected

and could be affected
for the rest of their life.