Child sex­ual abuse vic­tims failed by lack of sup­port, says char­ity

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS -

Chil­dren suf­fer­ing sex­ual abuse in Scot­land are be­ing failed by a lack of spe­cial­ist sup­port, a char­ity has warned.

New re­search by NSPCC Scot­land found ac­cess to re­cov­ery ser­vices re­mains frag­mented.

The char­ity said more than 900 sex­ual crimes against chil­dren un­der the age of 13 were re­ported to Po­lice Scot­land in 2016-17.

How­ever, NSPCC Scot­land found that more than half of the 17 lo­cal au­thor­ity ar­eas in­cluded in its lat­est re­search have no spe­cial­ist ser­vice for chil­dren of pri­mary school age, while 15 of the 17 have no ser­vice for chil­dren aged un­der five.

The char­ity is call­ing for the adop­tion of a mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary “Chil­dren’s House” model, where sup­port for chil­dren’s re­cov­ery fol­low­ing sex­ual abuse is avail­able along with foren­sic ser­vices and fa­cil­i­ties to help them give the best ev­i­dence to se­cure jus­tice.

Matt Forde, na­tional head of NSPCC Scot­land, said: “There has been a huge amount of na­tional at­ten­tion to child sex­ual ex­ploita­tion, on­line groom­ing and other types of abuse, which is im­por­tant, but the lack of help avail­able on the ground to help chil­dren re­cover, es­pe­cially for younger chil­dren and chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties, is a se­ri­ous is­sue.”

Rape Cri­sis Scot­land di­rec­tor of oper­a­tions Sandie Bar­ton said: “Chil­dren and young peo­ple who have ex­pe­ri­enced sex­ual vi­o­lence de­serve ac­cess to trauma in­formed, spe­cial­ist sup­port and ad­vo­cacy.

“At Rape Cri­sis Cen­tres more and more young peo­ple are com­ing for­ward and de­mand is at an un­prece­dented level.

“We know from sur­vivors that fail­ing to pro­vide timely ac­cess to ap­pro­pri­ate sup­port can have far reach­ing con­se­quences.”

One young per­son who was helped by Rape Cri­sis Scot­land’s Rosey Project in Glas­gow said: “Sup­port from the cen­tre has shown me that what I feel and how I feel it is both nor­mal and jus­ti­fied, with­out the sup­port I would still be lost.”

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