We support thousands of children and young people who have experienced sexual abuse. We make them safe and help them recover. 

What is child sexual abuse?

It involves forcing or persuading a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. This includes acts that involve physical contact such as:

  • assault by penetration
  • non-penetrative acts (e.g. masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching)

 It also includes:

  • involving children in looking at (or making) sexual images
  • watching sexual acts
  • encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways
  • grooming a child (including via the internet)

How we help

We've been supporting children and young people affected by sexual abuse since 1994. At the end of 2019/20 we were running 76 child abuse and exploitation services across the UK, including:

  • therapy and counselling 

  • supporting children and young people through court proceedings when abusers are prosecuted

  • supporting the wider family

  • increasing public awareness of sexual abuse

It’s vital that adults are aware of the issue so that they can help a child who might be affected.

Emergencies and Out of Hours Support

If you think a child is in immediate danger, dial 999 or contact your local authority social care department, or the NSPCC.

If you are a child and you need help, call Childline’s 24-hour support service on 0800 11 11.

If you'd like to speak to our Supporter Relationships team during business hours, please call on 0800 008 7005 or email at [email protected]. We’re open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. 

If you are concerned about a Barnardo's employee, volunteer or carer, call the relevant national or regional office and speak to a Barnardo's senior manager or children's services representative.

For more information about getting help for you or somebody else, please see our Get Help page.