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Information for parents and carers

Protecting children from sexual abuse


We have become more aware of child sexual abuse due to media coverage and often hear stories about children who are abused or exploited. Often the abuser is someone known to the parents or carer and a person in a position of trust and responsibility.


An abuser may be someone known by the parent and unlikely to be a suspect, such as a partner, friend or relative. Abusers can be extremely skilled at gaining trust and manipulating their way into the lives of children and their parents or carers. Some children will find it very difficult to disclose that they have been abused and are more likely to show signs of abuse in their behaviour.


In order to protect children from abusers we must speak to them about sexual abuse and encourage them to speak to us or ask questions about sexual behaviours they may have concerns about.


Signs your child may be at risk


If an adult or young person displays one or more of the following signs around your child, your child may be at risk. For example:

  • Gives unwanted physical attention to a child
  • Is controlling with a child
  • Intrudes upon a child’s privacy or personal space
  • Insists on separating mother and child
  • Uses inappropriate language with a child
  • Bullies a child
  • Shows an inappropriate interest in the sexual development of a child or teenager
  • Initiates overnight stays without parents or carers present
  • Gives a child money or buy them gifts for no reason
  • Makes excuses to spend time with a particular child or show favouritism

What to be aware of in children

  • Children showing reluctance or signs of fear around particular people or places
  • Nightmares, sleeping problems, fear of going to bed, bed wetting
  • Change in play habits or signs of sexualised behaviours with toys or objects
  • Becoming secretive or outbursts of anger
  • Struggling to concentrate at school or a reluctance to attend school
  • Seeming unsettled at home
  • Fear of being touched
  • Becoming withdrawn or fearful of being left alone
  • Signs of self-harm, cutting self, pulling hair out
  • Changes in eating behaviours
  • Personality changes, signs of low self esteem
  • Physical signs, such as unexplained soreness, bruising, sexually transmitted infections

What to be aware of in older children and teenagers?

  • Becoming depressed, low mood
  • Not attending school or going missing
  • Self-harming behaviours
  • Developing eating problems
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Reduced contact with family, friends or professionals
  • Being sighted in unusual places
  • Becoming secretive about friends or money
  • Unexplained healthcare appointments

In order to protect our children it is important that we speak with children about sexual abuse and that they have support in place if they do need to talk to someone.  We need to be aware of potential risk, indicators of abuse and how to deal with disclosures.


Teach your children the underwear rule


The Underwear Rule is an NSPCC campaign designed to help parents keep their children safe from sexual abuse, for more information visit:


If you are reading this and feel concerned about a child we have included telephone numbers of both local and national agencies and some websites that may be helpful.  Please contact us directly if you have any questions or require our support.


How RASASC can help


At RASASC we offer a counselling and ISVA support service to children and young people up to the age of 18 who have been affected either directly or indirectly by sexual violence/abuse.

Along with qualified children’s play therapists, we also have two specialist Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) working across Cheshire and Merseyside who are experienced in working specifically with children and young people. As well as offering practical advice and guidance through reporting sexual violence, the Child ISVA will also complete care plans with children and parents/carers in order to address any particular needs you may have and work with other agencies to ensure the right support is provided to enable you to move forward from sexual assault.


Child ISVA’s are there to make sure that the young person’s voice is heard and their wishes are considered throughout the criminal justice process and to make sure they feel prepared should their case go to court.


Face to face support sessions and initial meetings can be completed in one of our local RASASC centres throughout Cheshire and Merseyside (depending on the child’s age) or children’s centres are often used for a more child friendly environment.


How to get in touch


Here at RASASC we have an information line that is open Monday to Friday from 9am until 4pm. You can call up for initial advice and information from a specialist worker who can take a referral for our services and also signpost you to other agencies that might be of help to you. We accept self-referrals as well as referrals from professionals within other agencies.

We will listen to you, we will respect you and we will believe you.


You can contact the information line on 0330 363 0063 or 01925 221546

Please note the information line is for advice, guidance and referrals. If you require immediate support please contact the police on 999 in an emergency or 101 for non-emergencies.


You can also email the information line for advice on:


Other sources of help for parents and carers


WeStand (National helpline for non-abusing parents/carers of sexually abused children) 0800 980 1958


Thinkuknow (Advice and information for Young people/carers and teachers around keeping safe on the internet)


Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre (CEOP)


NSPCC (National Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) 0808 800 5000


Respond (specialist support for abused children with learning disabilities) 0845 606 1503


You&Co (Victim Support’s youth programme offering information on your rights as a young victim and witness and also information about the court process)


Parents protect (offering a wealth of knowledge, advice, support and facts for parents and carers around protecting children from sexual abuse) 0808 1000 900


Parentline (helpline for parents/carers) 0808 800 2222


Stop it now (Child sexual abuse prevention campaign) 0808 1000 900


Samaritans (24hr emotional support line) 08457 90 90 90


Young Minds Parents Helpline (Online and telephone support, including advice, to any adult worried about the emotional problems, behaviour or mental health of a child or young person)


Child Exploitation: The more you know the more you see


National Association for People Abused in Childhood 0800 0853330


CAMHS (Child Adolescent Mental Health Service) 01928 568162


Supporting your child- Programme for Parents and Carers


This FREE course is for those who play pivotal roles in supporting children and young people who have experienced sexual abuse. There are a series of videos that are split into four sections:


1. Understanding the impact of sexual abuse and recognising trauma responses within children


2. Self-care for the caregiver: considering ways of managing the impact of supporting children who are struggling with the effects of sexual abuse


3. Creating emotionally safe environments for children: ways of strengthening relationships and a sense of connectedness


4. Supporting and teaching emotional regulation to children.


The course is designed for a person to completely go at their own pace. There are no tests, no homework, and no time limit to complete this course. It is not meant to bombard or overload anyone with information, it is more a series of informative videos for a person to have a look through whenever they can set some time aside to do so.


You may decide to access the videos from start to finish or you may prefer to watch a certain video that most relates to you at this moment. Throughout the course, you will also find links to additional resources and options of support both for yourself as caregivers and for your children. To access the course, simply click  on the videos below.


Parent Course- Overview


Parent Course- Part 1


Parent Course- Part 2


Parent Course- Part 3


Parent Course- Part 4


We hope you find watching the video’s useful. Once you have watched all of the videos, we would love to hear your thoughts. Please use this short evaluation to tell us if the course helped you. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us on or call us on 0330 363 0063


Evaluation form-