There has been increasing awareness of child sexual abuse and its impact on victims and survivors in recent years. Knowledge and understanding have improved, but there is still too much that remains unknown about the sexual abuse of children and young people in England and Wales.

This issue is core to the purpose of the Centre of expertise on child sexual abuse. The first steps in this long-term strand of the CSA Centre's work have been an analysis of what we currently do and do not know from existing prevalence studies and data from statutory services, and an exploration of the different methodologies used in studies of child sexual abuse around the world.


What do we currently know and not know?


Measuring the scale and changing nature of child sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation

Scoping report

Professor Liz Kelly and Kairika Karsna

This report has been 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. It 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.

Scoping report (PDF, 2472KB)



At-a-glance summaries of what we currently do and do not know

Infographics (PDF, 305KB)


Briefing: Improving understanding of the scale and nature of child sexual abuse

This briefing summarises key points from the scoping report and sets out next steps in working towards better and comparative data.

Briefing in English (PDF, 1351KB)


Papur briffio: Gwella’r ddealltwriaeth o raddfa a natur cam-drin plant yn rhywiol

(Briefing in Welsh)

Briefing in Welsh (PDF, 1366KB)


What can we learn from the methods used in international surveys?

A review of international survey methodology on child sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation 

Professor Lorraine Radford

This rapid evidence assessment has been commissioned to inform work on improving the collection of data in England and Wales. It looks at the differences in victim and perpetrator self-report survey methodologies used internationally to measure the prevalence of CSA and CSE, in order to identify good practice that could be replicated here (and which might facilitate comparisons with studies in other countries).

International survey review (PDF, 2.4MB)