We’ve co-signed a letter to the Prime Minister and Home Secretary calling on the Government to ensure there’s better support available to child victims of sexual abuse.

The campaign, led by the NSPCC and backed by more 30 organisations, urges the Government to act on the findings and recommendations of the report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

The Jay report was published in October after seven years of work and the involvement of more than 7,300 victims and survivors.

The letter says: “We believe this can be a defining moment for child protection. But that requires action and attention. This report must not end up on a shelf alongside other reports and reviews commissioned in the wake of tragedies.

It adds: “Victims and survivors deserve our gratitude for their bravery and determination. They must be at the heart of lasting, positive change now.

The letter continues: “We recognise we have a vital role in keeping children safe from sexual abuse and we will play our part. But we need political leadership from you and your Government to translate the Inquiry’s findings and recommendations into lasting change.”

The letter highlights three key actions that the Government should take now.

These are:

  • to put a children’s champion at the heart of Government policymaking as part of a robust system to keep children safe
  • to bring the Online Safety Bill back to Parliament as soon as possible with child protection measures central to the legislation
  • to deliver on recommendations for victims to have access to specialist therapeutic support services and make changes to criminal injuries compensation policies and processes for dealing with claims

Recommendation 16 of the report says that child victims should be offered specialist therapeutic support and that there should be sufficient supply of these services so that children in all part of England and Wales can access support in a timely way.

The recommendation adds that these should be fully funded and responsibility for commissioning these should be given to local authorities.

Our Head of Policy and Public Affairs Martin Bell said: “This is a devastating report that emphasises how children’s lives have been shattered by the abuse they endured, and how they’ve lived with the ramifications of this long into adulthood, including the damaging impact on their mental health.

“The report highlights that when counselling was offered, the experience of support was positive and often life-changing. But worryingly many struggled to access the therapeutic support they so desperately needed.

“We hope that a lasting legacy of this report is that victims and survivors will have better access to therapy.

“We emphasised at the launch of the report that there’s a counselling and psychotherapy workforce in a position to provide accessible and timely support to survivors and those who report being abused. We’ll continue to campaign on this issue but it’s vital the Government ensures that the powerful recommendations within this report are acted on.”

Our Children, Young People and Families lead will meet with representatives of the NSPCC next week to discuss the counselling elements of the recommendations.