Chair of investigation into UK child sex abuse explains horrifying findings

11 February 2020, 14:31

The government report on sexual abuse in the UK found some truly distressing results - Labour MP Sarah Champion who is spearheading the investigation told Shelagh Fogarty what she'd found.

90% of sexual abusers are in the extended family of the child; 16% of childhood survivors say that the NHS mental health service match their needs; 90% of those responding said the abuse affected their intimate relationships; 86% said it affected their mental health and 82% say it has affected their careers, according to the dossier.

Sarah Champion said these results clearly show that if not dealt with at the time, traumatic events in childhood have a lifelong effect and can be "very far-reaching."

Those abused have a similar pattern of behaviour, she said. At the time victims tend to blame themselves and feel guilty about what happened.

"The secrecy and the shame that our society has built around coming out and disclosing makes it incredibly difficult for people to reach out and get the help they want," Ms Champion said. Some of the 400 victims that came forward in this investigation were in the Rotherham grooming gang case and other high profile cases.

Labour MP Sarah Champion spearheaded this investigation
Labour MP Sarah Champion spearheaded this investigation. Picture: PA

"90% of the abuse in this country is happening within the extended family," she said, "what I really need to see is wherever that abuse happens...the response from the state should be universally accessible and that's just not the case."

Shelagh pointed out that we live in a "highly sexualised society" and it is often emphasised that sexuality and sex is positive and is about confidence, health and being open. She posited this could make it even harder to come forward and talk about a painful sexually abusive experience.

Ms Champion said she has certainly found this, especially with children who are growing up having access to social media where grooming can happen easily online. With access to internet the report found that 95% of 14 year olds have seen porn and when she goes into schools, children ask her if they "have to be strangled."

The Labour MP campaigned for and won the ruling that from September every primary schoolchild will have a basic foundation in their school of relationship education.

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