National Safeguarding Unit (NSU) - Safe Activities For Everyone

Protecting children and young people from sexual abuse 

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What is sexual abuse?

Child sexual abuse involves persuading or forcing a child to take part in sexual activities, or encouraging a child to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

Sexual abuse can be very difficult to identify. However, there are steps you can take to help keep a child safe from sexual abuse and to protect a child if you suspect, or discover, that they have been abused.

Possible signs and symptoms of sexual abuse

Warning signs that you may notice in a child:

  • suddenly starts to behave differently
  • does not look after him or herself
  • displays sexually inappropriate behaviour, including use of sexual language and sexual information
  • has physical symptoms that suggest sexual abuse
  • avoids being alone with a particular family member
  • fears an adult or is reluctant to socialise with them
  • tries to tell you about abuse indirectly, through hints or clues
  • describes behaviour by an adult that suggests they are being ‘groomed’ for future abuse


Parents Protect!
Child Sexual Abuse Video Learning Programme enables you to work through a number of  issues and topics at your own pace. The programme aims to: give you the information you need about child sexual abuse; show you how to create a family safety plan; and tell you who you can talk to if you are worried.

Creating a culture of safety

NSPCC EduCare child protection awareness programme for those who come into contact with children through their work or voluntary activities. Invaluable for anyone working with children in an organisational setting as well as those who need to understand more about the issues surrounding child sexual abuse.

EduCare - Child Sexual Abuse
A short programme about child sexual abuse and it will prove invaluable for anyone who has contact with children and young people within an organisation, including those with responsibility for recruitment. It contains facts about child sexual abuse and those who may pose a sexual threat to children. 


In the Know - Magazine style leaflet for children
Home Office - Child sex offender disclosure scheme
Young Minds - Do you know someone who has been sexually abused?
The Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) (PDF) - Help... my child's been abused: now what?

Further support

Sex Education Forum
Stop it Now

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