Recent figures released by the charity Child Line have revealed that 59% of the perpetrators of child abuse are family members.
Following the release of the figures, children's minister Tim Loughton MP has made assurances that work is being done to combat all forms of child abuse. However, NAPAC (National Association for People Abused in Childhood), NSPCC, the Lucy Faithfull Foundation and Action for Children have all contacted him in an attempt to force action to tackle this horrendous form of sexual abuse.
The problem facing the government, and indeed those organisations involved with assisting children in the aftermath of such events, is that it is difficult to engage victims into talking about their experiences. In many cases when a child is abused in the family environment they are unable to understand that what has happened to them is wrong and in some cases, they are lead to believe by the perpetrator that this kind of abuse is perfectly normal. So whilst some form of action plan from the government is welcomed, there needs to be a focus placed on the specific features of intra-familial abuse.
The home and family environment should be a safe and happy place for children but the harsh reality is that this is often not the case. The Child Line statistics, although very disturbing, do not come as a great shock to myself as an abuse claim solicitor; having seen the prevalence of family member perpetrators in the cases we encounter on a daily basis.
Indeed, figures released by the NSPCC last year further illustrate the frequency of family perpetrators in instances of abuse. In counselling sessions for victims where the perpetrator has been disclosed, one third of victims stated the abuser to be their own father. Furthermore, the Chief Executive of NAPAC has revealed that in the 10 years NAPAC has been running, almost 100% of victims of sexual abuse cite the perpetrator to be a family member or someone who is well known and trusted by them.
It is widely accepted that sexual abuse and exploitation is a complex area because people do not wish to, or are simply too young to talk about it. This makes preventative work very difficult.
If you have been affected by any of the above issues then do not hesitate to contact myself for guidance on how to apply for compensation as a victim of sexual abuse. If you would prefer, we also have female solicitors who can assist you with your claim.
By Jonathan Bridge, child abuse claims lawyer