Concerned about your behaviour? Concerned about someone you know? Concerned about a child's behaviour? Have you been abused?
Need advice on how to protect children? Are you a professional looking for advice?

Who sexually abuses children?

People who sexually harm and abuse children can be anybody – family members (dads, mums, brothers, sisters, aunties, uncles, grandparents), family friends, neighbours, babysitters and members of your community – some may hold responsible positions in society. Some may use the internet and mobile phones to sexually harm children.

Because abusers, most of whom are men but some are women, come from all classes, racial and religious backgrounds and may be heterosexual or homosexual, you cannot pick an abuser out in a crowd. Many sexual abusers have adult sexual relationships whilst maintaining a sexual interest in children.

We know that at least 8 out of 10 children who are sexually abused know their abuser and their abuser may be someone they know, care about and to whom they are emotionally attached. We, as concerned adults, may also know and be emotionally attached to someone who we believe may be causing harm to a child.

This attachment can be a barrier to us taking action to protect children – often we don’t want to believe what we are worrying about and are concerned about seeking help in case we’ve “got it wrong”. If you are one of these worried people you can phone our confidential Helpline for support and advice.

If you are at all worried over someone else’s sexual behaviour then call the Stop it Now!, freephone confidential helpline on 0808 1000 900 or email for advice, support and information. Please bear in mind there will be a delay in response to the email service, for an immediate response please call our confidential Helpline - 0808 1000 900.

Or visit our Get Help website where there is a huge range of online resources, advice and support that will help you address your concerns. You will not be asked for any details that may identify you, and the website is completely anonymous.

You may also want to look at our Parents Protect! website for further advice on how to implement child safety plans in order to protect your children from adults who concern you.

Confidentiality Statement

Our telephone Helpline offers a confidential service for people seeking advice and support. This means that when contacting us you do not have to give any identifying information such as address, telephone number or last name.

However, if you do give us identifying information and we are concerned that a child is at risk or a criminal offence has been committed which the police may not be aware of, we will have to pass on that information to the appropriate agencies.

We also offer a confidential e-mail service,, on which you can contact us. Your e-mail address will not be displayed. Due to high demand for this service, we are unfortunately unable to offer an immediate response to your enquiry. We aim to respond to all emails within 3-5 working days but if your enquiry is urgent please call the confidential Helpline 0808 1000 900.