‘Protecting children from harm’ by the Children’s Commissioner

Results from the Children’s Commissioner’s inquiry into child sex abuse within the family and its network in England have been published in a new report, outlining priorities for action. Although child sex abuse is the subject of considerable public concern, abuse within families has been largely absent from the national conversation. This is despite the fact that the majority of victims are abused by someone within their family network, which has a particular impact on the victims themselves and the entire family structure. This report is a critical analysis of the scale and nature of this form of child sex abuse, bringing to light revealing statistics about the extent of abuse known to authorities and estimates of that which goes unreported.

Particularly relevant recommendations:

  • The Commissioner recommends that, from the moment of initial disclosure, children receive a holistic package of support, tailored to their needs, including therapeutic support to help them recover from their experiences. The Barnahus model should be piloted in England, in order to determine its potential for improving victims’ experiences of statutory interventions, including the criminal justice process
  • The Commissioner also recommends that children and young people with harmful sexual behaviour receive proportionate and timely intervention to reduce the risk of this behaviour continuing into adulthood.


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