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