Sadly, child sexual abuse has not gone away. Children are still being sexually abused in communities all over Scotland, and sexual abuse has found new platforms in the online age.

Child sexual abuse can happen once or continue for years. It can happen to any child, of any age and from any background. Children can be abused by members of their own family or by others, and sexual abuse can be perpetrated by men or women. 

Child sexual abuse ALWAYS involves an adult or older child using their power over a child – it is NEVER a child’s fault that they have been sexually abused.

Adult survivors of child sexual abuse who contributed to the design of this campaign told us that child sexual abuse not only harms children at the time of the abuse, but can result in lifelong problems and rob victims of a better future.

In our ongoing What If You’re Right? campaign, child sexual abuse survivors, Child Protection Scotland and Barnardo’s Scotland are encouraging adults to really look, really listen and notice changes in a child’s behaviour. Don’t ignore it when your gut tells you something is wrong, take action to get help for that child.

Many people worry that they might be wrong and are afraid of making a bad situation worse. Instead, ask yourself, what if you’re right? What if that child is being sexually abused? It can be a bit scary to report your concerns, but saying nothing can have devastating consequences for the child.

If you are concerned that a child is being sexually abused, you can call your local council’s child protection team or social work department [https://www.childprotection.scot/useful-links/council-social-work]. Or you can talk to a teacher at your local school, or speak to a nurse, doctor or health visitor, or a community worker. 

Remember, child sexual abuse is a crime. If you are worried that a child is being sexually abused you can call Police Scotland on 101. If you think a child is in immediate danger, don’t wait, call 999.