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.
As many as 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 anonymous and 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, anonymous and confidential helpline on 0808 1000 900 for advice, support and information.
You can message the helpline using our secure messaging service by clicking here. Our messaging service is not able to offer an immediate response due to high demand. We aim to respond to messages within 5-7 working days. If your enquiry is urgent please call the confidential helpline.
Get Help is a self-help website with a range of online resources, advice and support aimed at people who know someone with inappropriate or illegal online behaviour.
Get Support offers advice to those who know someone who has inappropriate thoughts about children and young people.
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 sexual harm.
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