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Learning from Reviews – Intra-Familial Child Sexual Abuse

Date: Tuesday, 02nd May 2023 | Category: General


Learning from reviews has identified Intra-Familial Child Sexual Abuse in current Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews. Intra-Familial child sexual abuse refers to child sexual abuse (CSA) that occurs within a family environment. Perpetrators may or may not be related to the child. The key consideration is whether the abuser feels like family from the child’s point of view. Around two-thirds of all CSA reported to the police is perpetrated by a family member or someone close to the child.

Where research has recorded the gender of perpetrators of intra-familial child sexual abuse, the vast majority have been found to be male, although abuse by women does occur. In around a quarter of cases, the perpetrator is under 18.

The Board has created a new Guidance section on the website which includes information about Intra-Familial Child Sexual Abuse, along with dedicated free training on the Boards Learning Zone outlining the work of the Probation Service and the risk around Person Posing a Risk to Children (PPRC).

Understanding the risk perpetrators of Intra-Familial Child Sexual Abuse is paramount and further work is under way to expand this offer further. Those perpetrators that groom children, can very often groom the people that work with them, so practitioners need to use critical thinking to explore historical offences, the history of the family and child, previous reviews and the risks posed by PPRCs.

Risk assessments are essential and should also be revisited at a time of change in the daily lived experience of the child. Disclosures are often not made and criminal charges may not be bought, so we need to observe and listen to the voice of the child and walk in their shoes, observing behaviours and work together to reduce the impact on the child.

Voice of the child training is being rolled out in many agencies as well as ‘With or Without Words’ free training on the Board website – speak to your agencies safeguarding lead or Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Board.

The Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse has a wealth of information for all agencies, visit Key messages from research on intra-familial child sexual abuse – CSA Centre

The Lucy Faithfull Foundation provides information and support for people troubled by their sexual thoughts about children and young people. Their website aims to help people to cope with unwanted feelings and urges and offers guidance about how to manage problematic behaviour. The helpline is free, anonymous, and completely confidential.

The Lucy Faithfull Foundation has developed deterrence campaign to show the serious consequences of looking at child sexual abuse images online. The video ‘The Knock’ features several men who are frightened of a sound that could be a “knock.” In the final section, one of the men receives a knock on the door from the police. He is subsequently arrested for looking at sexual images of children online. The video ends with a message signposting potential offenders to self-help resources online and the helpline. During its development, the film was tested with focus groups of internet sex offenders. Since the video was launched and disseminated on social media, it has been viewed over 1 million times and is Lucy Faithfull’s highest performing film.

The Lucy Faithfull videos can be found at, posters and leaflets can be found at

Get support website for people worried about offline offending | The Lucy Faithfull Foundation