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Child Sexual Abuse

If you are concerned that a child may have been sexually abused call the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) immediately on 01273 290400. If you think they are in immediate danger telephone the police on 999.

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving the children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways. Signs of sexual abuse displayed by children include:

  • Difficulty walking or sitting;
  • Pain/itching/bleeding/bruising/discharge to the genital area/anus;
  • Exhibits an inappropriate sexual knowledge for their age;
  • Exhibits sexualised behaviour in their play or with other children;
  • Urinary infections/sexually transmitted diseases;
  • Persistent sore throats;
  • Eating disorders / self harm;
  • Refuses to change for gym or participate in physical activities;
  • Lack of peer relationships, sleep disturbances, acute anxiety/fear;
  • School refusal, running away from home.

Read about how professionals in Brighton & Hove are working together to prevent sexual abuse in our CSA bulletin from November 2014 and view the Pan Sussex Child Protection & Safeguarding Procedures 

We also recommend that professionals read Someone to lean on  – Advice for professionals giving therapeutic support to children who have been sexually abused, and the NSPCCs report Getting Help – what children tell us about accessing services after abuse

Read more about sexual abuse in England, and how this could be prevented, in the NSPCC report Preventing Child Sexual Abuse: Towards a National Strategy.

NSPCC’s Underwear Rule


The NSPCC’s Underwear Rule is a simple way that parents can help keep children safe from abuse – without using scary words or mentioning sex. For more information please visit the NSPCC website or download their guide for parents

The Survivors Network provides local support for victims of all forms of sexual abuse, and also provides advice for professionals and those supporting survivors. www.survivorsnetwork.org.uk or call 01273  203380

If you are concerned about a child in Brighton & Hove contact the Front Door for Families on 01273 290400 or email FrontDoorForFamilies@brighton-hove.gcsx.gov.uk or use the Online Referral Form