The news headlines in recent weeks have been dominated by the Jimmy Savile abuse allegations. As a result of the increased focus being placed on the sexual abuse of children, the NSPCC has decided to bring forward the release of a guide to parents on recognising the signs of sexual abuse. The document is readily accessible on the NSPCC website and is entitled “What can I do? Protecting your child from sexual abuse’.

The primary aim of the guidance is to protect children. Sexual abuse can be a largely secretive subject. Children who have been physically abused will often exhibit cuts and bruises and these will normally be noticed by parents or teachers. Due to its nature, however, sexual abuse is a lot harder to spot.

The guidance also advises parents on when they should be suspicious that a child is being groomed. There is a big difference between an adult forming a close and normal relationship with a child and one who forms an inappropriate relationship; with the ultimate aim of abusing his or her position of trust to sexually abuse the child.

Sexual abuse affects each child differently, but the guidance details symptoms such as being withdrawn or clingy, outbursts of anger, using toys in a sexual way, changes in eating habits and bedwetting and soiling. These symptoms are often classic indicators that a child is being sexually abused. The guidance also informs parents what to do if their child tells them they have been sexually abused and details a list of professionals who can provide support, information and advice.

Here at Farleys we review copious amounts of social services and medical records of sexually abused children on a daily basis and the signs and symptoms of abuse often follow a similar pattern.

The NSPCC has recently stated that following the Savile allegations, there has been a 60% increase in calls in relation to the sexual abuse of children. We are also receiving a similarly large volume of enquiries from victims of sexual abuse wishing to make a claim for compensation. To speak to one of our solicitors specialising in abuse claims, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our empathetic team have a great deal of experience in handling claims for child abuse, and are able to advise you free of charge about the process of making a claim.