Rape is now the most common reason for a child or young person to contact ChildLine when reporting sexual abuse, according to new figures released by the NSPCC.
The figures were published at the launch of a Don’t hide it – a new campaign by the NSPCC which aims to help children and young people speak out about sexual abuse.
Of the 8,637 children who called ChildLine last year to report sexual abuse, 51% wanted advice following a rape. Of these, 842 reported rape by their father, 421 by a stranger and 285 by a boyfriend.
NSPCC director Mary Marsh said: “A child calls ChildLine on average once every hour to talk about rape and other types of sexual abuse.
“The children who phone are those who have found the strength to speak out. Many others feel unable to do this. One in six children will be sexually abused before they reach their 16th birthday, but nearly three quarters tell no one about it at the time.”
The charity is calling on the government to provide a range of therapeutic services, including counselling, play therapy and family-centred work. It estimates that 90% of sexually abused children are denied access to appropriate support.
“Children and young people should be able to access treatment immediately and locally. It is important that there is funding for the statutory sector delivery of services. Currently, local authority provision is limited and not consistent in its availability throughout the UK,” said an NSPCC spokesperson.