Child sexual abuse: learning from case reviews

Publication date 2020

Summary of risk factors and learning for improved practice around child sexual abuse

This learning from case reviews briefing looks at case reviews published since 2017, where children experienced sexual abuse.

The reviews suggest that professionals are sometimes slow to identify sexual abuse as an explanation for a child's behaviour or medical presentations – particularly when other explanations are offered.

The learning highlights the importance of:

  • professionals’ ability to recognise and respond to sexual abuse
  • displaying professional curiosity and challenge with families, carers and other agencies
  • keeping the child at the centre of practitioners’ work.

This briefing focuses on child sexual abuse committed by adults. For information on harmful sexual behaviour (HSB) which is displayed by children and young people, read our HSB learning from case review briefing.

Published: January 2020

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Looking for case reviews? Search the National case review repository and find serious case reviews by subject, year or area.

View our full list of thematic briefings. Our briefings focus on topics ranging from types of abuse, learning for specific sectors, children and families at risk and more.

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