Preventing child sex abuse in Cornwall

As shocking statistics from the NSPCC reveal one in every twenty children in the UK has experienced some form of sexual abuse, Cornwall Council has revealed a new strategy to tackle the problem. 

The majority of child sexual abuse happens in the family or the wider network of family and family friends. Children are most likely to tell a peer, the mother or a teacher or someone else in school they know and trust.

Continue reading

The multi-agency Strategy has been created because of the number of people coming forward to disclose historic abuse.

At the heart of the strategy is the aim of helping everyone living and working in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to recognise the signs and indicators of child sexual abuse.

Cornwall Councillor and Cabinet Member for Children and Wellbeing, Sally Hawken said: “We want young people across Cornwall to have a good understanding of what represents a healthy relationship and recognise when they are being made to take part in sexual activity against their will. 

"Our vision is simple; for all children and young people in Cornwall to be healthy and safe. 

“Child sexual abuse can have long lasting consequences for the survivors. For many the impact is life-long. These can include feelings of betrayal, mistrust, powerlessness, stigmatisation, guilt, self-loathing, traumatic sexualisation, physical and mental health problems and difficulty in forming and maintaining healthy relationships.

“We must work together to stop this happening to our children. The Strategy is intended to empower anyone who cares for children or works with children, either professionally or in the volunteer sector, to speak out.

“I would like to thank our partners for their support and I hope that Councillors, who will be receiving this briefing today, will feel empowered as community leaders to play their part for the welfare of children of Cornwall.”

In October last year Cornwall Council was praised during a joint targeted area inspection on child sexual abuse within the family environment, for its “strong culture and commitment to partnership-working across the agencies”  to tackle child sexual abuse. The inspection also praised the “committed, stable and well-trained workforce, most notable in children’s social care and health services.”

Jack Cordery, Service Director for Children and Family Services, said: “It is everybody’s duty to work together to prevent this abuse of children; families and communities, volunteers, front line practitioners across education, early years, health, early help, police, probation and social services. We want people to be vigilant, be willing to think the unthinkable and take action.

“Crucially it will also mean empowering children and young people to speak up about what is happening to them – and then for us to listen to them and believe them.

“We are committed to ensuring the children of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have the best possible response if they experience sexual abuse. We have looked at everything from stopping it happening in the first place through to providing the best support to those that we know have been abused.”

If you are concerned about the wellbeing of a child contact the early help hub on: 01872 322277