Scale & nature of child sexual abuse report
Our 2021 review of evidence exploring what we currently do and do not know from existing prevalence studies and official service data.
Our must-read report explores what we currently do and do not know from existing prevalence studies and official service data. It aims to better our understanding of the scale and nature of child sexual abuse, in order to improve the response.
The 2021 Scale and nature report finds far more children experience sexual abuse than are currently being protected and the latest data suggests the gap between recorded experiences and experiences of abuse could be widening.
In 2019/20, England saw the largest drop in child protection plans for sexual abuse in 18 years – and following eight years of increased recording of child sexual abuse offences by police, there was a levelling off in 2019/20, with 87,992 identifiable child sexual abuse offences recorded.
The report estimates that at least 15% of girls and 5% of boys experience child sexual abuse before the age of 16. The majority of child sexual abuse is hidden; never reported or uncovered by an official agency. Sadly, while current research and administrative data reveals some trends, it also leaves many questions.