New child abuse strategy launched in North Ayrshire

Posted: 27th April 2021

The North Ayrshire Child Sexual Abuse Strategy – the first of its type to be launched in Scotland – sets out the actions North Ayrshire Child Protection Committee will take in order to prevent ALL types of child sexual abuse in the area.

We need to talk about child sexual abuse.

That’s the message from North Ayrshire Child Protection Committee as they launch their new Child Sexual Abuse Strategy.

Evidence suggests that as many as one  in ten young people aged 11 to 17 in the UK could have experienced  sexual abuse within the last year, and one in 20 in the same age group  could have experienced it at some point in their childhood.

That means that over 900 children and  young people in North Ayrshire alone are likely to have been sexually  abused in the past year.

There are many types of sexual abuse and it doesn’t always involve physical contact.

It can also include things like children being exposed to or shown pornography, being tricked or forced  into taking part in sexual conversations online, or being made to touch  themselves or watch sexual acts.

Any child could be at risk, and it can  happen anywhere – in a child’s home or someone else’s home, at clubs or  events, in fact anywhere that children and young people socialise and  relax and where they should feel safe.

A child or young person is never to  blame if they are sexually abused, and it’s important that all children  and young people know this.

It can often be hard for them to  understand that what they are experiencing is sexual abuse, and even when they do know it’s wrong they are often too scared to tell anyone and may believe it’s their fault.

Without the right support at the right  time, sexual abuse can lead to long term problems in terms of  development and social relationships for children and young people, as  well as having a negative effect on mental health.

The North Ayrshire Child Sexual Abuse  Strategy – the first of its type to be launched in Scotland – sets out  the actions North Ayrshire Child Protection Committee will take in order  to prevent ALL types of child sexual abuse in North Ayrshire, to  protect those at risk from sexual abuse, and to support those who are  experiencing abuse or who have experienced it in the past, with the  rights and needs of young people at the heart of the strategy.

The strategy was developed by a  multi-agency group comprising of representatives from Barnardo’s,  Children 1st, Police Scotland, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership and North Ayrshire Council’s education and housing services.

Dr Anne Houston OBE, chair of North  Ayrshire Child Sexual Abuse Strategy Group, said: “We know children and  young people struggle to find support when they are being sexually  abused, often fearing that they’ll not be taken seriously or perhaps  even blamed.

“As adults, we have to show them that we can and will listen to and support them.

“Therefore we have to face this  difficult topic and begin to bring it into the open by discussing it in  our homes, communities and workplaces.

“Only then will the children and young  people needing our support feel able to share their experiences and get  the support and protection they desperately need.

“If we can’t talk about it then they certainly won’t.”

To view the North Ayrshire Child Sexual  Abuse Strategy, or to find out more about child protection training for  members of the public and professionals, visit the NACPC website at

If you are worried that a child or  young person is being sexually abused, or are concerned that they might  be at risk of abuse, call 01294 310300 (office hours), 0800 328 7758  (evening, weekends and public holidays), or call the Police on 101.  If  you think that they could be in immediate danger, please call the  police on 999.

Source: In Your Area, April 2021


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