Analysis of 2017/18 official and agency data
Sherrelle Parke and Kairika Karsna
It remains the case that the majority of child sexual abuse is neither reported nor identified during childhood and will therefore not appear in official agency data. However, the extent to which agencies recognise and respond to concerns of child sexual abuse is important, and this report pulls together available public data relating to child sexual abuse in one place. We hope it enables those in the field to better understand the bigger picture and changing context of the issue.
This data in this report is sourced from local authority children’s services, where child protection plans and social care initial assessments record where a child has experienced sexual abuse or is considered at risk of it, and data from criminal justice agencies, including the police and courts, that tells us about child sexual abuse offences and prosecutions. While this data provides an important insight into the practice of key agencies in relation to child sexual abuse, it is important to remember that this is not prevalence data (experiences of child sexual abuse in the general population): it is annual case management information as recorded at local and national levels. As such, what is and is not recorded reflects the varying needs and priorities of different agencies.
Professor Liz Kelly and Kairika Karsna
This report includes current best estimates of the prevalence of child sexual abuse (including exploitation) and sets out how we can improve the data, and our understanding. It was produced in partnership with London Metropolitan University, and informed by two expert workshops. The report was first published in July 2017 and was revised in August 2018.
At-a-glance summaries of what we currently do and do not know (updated July 2019)