#itsnotok: Sexual abuse and sexual violence awareness week

Child Abuse Review

This week is the inaugural Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness week #itsnotok’ (1-7 February 2016), a national awareness campaign supported by BASPCAN, the NSPCC, NAPAC and other organisations.

Child Abuse ReviewIn support of this, we have published a special virtual issue of Child Abuse Review:

Child Sexual Abuse and Children’s Rights



This collection of eleven papers, all of which are available on open access, has been selected from a much larger body of work that BASPCAN has published in Child Abuse Review over the past 24 years. Each paper has helped to stimulate the ongoing debate in respect of child sexual abuse and children’s rights to better protection and therapeutic services.

In an accompanying editorial, Jonathan Picken,  Independent Consultant; and Chair, Education and Learning Sub-Committee, BASPCAN points out the timeliness and importance of this issue:

Papers published during this period helped shape professional practice and supported colleagues who were often severely criticised for their attempts to bring the scandal of such abuse and exploitation to the attention of the public. It is apt, therefore, that the recent critical assessment of child sexual abuse (CSA) in the family network, ‘Protecting children from harm  (Office of the Children’s Commissioner, 2015) should highlight the true prevalence of sexual abuse across England and help continue the campaign to ensure rights enshrined within the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) are fully recognised and protected.


I would encourage you to read Jonathan’s editorial and the associated papers of the virtual issue. Sexual abuse and sexual violence are crucially important issues that are not going to go away.  Perhaps more than any other kind of maltreatment, sexual abuse hits at the core of a person’s identity, and leaves deep scars.  We owe it to women and children the world over to take this seriously and to continue to strive to improve our responses to sexual abuse and violence, working to prevent such violence and to support those affected by it. 

Like many other authors whose work has helped inform our understanding of CSA, authors of these 11 papers have contributed much to the ongoing battle to end such abuse and exploitation. Their work is celebrated here in the hope that it will continue to provoke debate across the coalition of partner organisations coordinating #itsnotok and efforts to raise awareness of sexual abuse and violence and the services available. The associated week of action comes at an opportune moment as the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse chaired by Justice Goddard progresses its work. The need for similar investigations across the five nations perhaps finally vindicates the efforts of BASPCAN members and other colleagues who have continued to highlight the needs of those affected.


Virtual Issue Contents

The pattern of child sexual abuse in Northern Ireland
(Volume 1, Issue 2, 1992)
M. T. Kennedy and M. K. C. Manwell

Pornography and the organization of intrafamilial and extrafamilial child sexual abuse: developing a conceptual model
(Volume 6, Issue 2, 1997)
Catherine Itzin

Prevention of sexual abuse in children with learning disabilities
(Volume 7, Issue 5, 1998)
Ana Maria Martorella and Ana Maria Portugues

The neglected priority: sexual abuse in the context of residential child care
(Volume 8, Issue 6, 1999)
Meg Lindsay

Assessment and intervention in cases of suspected ritual child sexual abuse
(Volume 10, Issue 4, 2001)
Bernard Gallagher

Commercial and sexual exploitation of children and young people in the UK – a review
(Volume 14, Issue 1, 2005)
Elaine Chase and June Statham

Twenty-first century party people: Young people and sexual exploitation in the new millennium
(Volume 22, Issue 3, 2013)
Margaret Melrose

Dealing with a problem that doesn’t exist? Professional responses to female perpetrated child sexual abuse
(Volume 16, Issue 4, 2007)
Lisa Bunting

In Demand: Therapeutic services for children and young people who have experienced sexual abuse
(Volume 21, Issue 5, 2012)
Debra Allnock, Lorraine Radford, Lisa Bunting, Avril Price, Natalie Morgan-Klein, Jane Ellis and Anne Stafford

Disclosure of child sexual abuse: Delays, non-disclosure and partial disclosure. What the research tells us and implications for practice
(Volume 24, Issue 3, 2015)
Rosaleen McElvaney

Social work intervention to protect children: Aspects of research and practice
(Volume 1, Issue 1, 1992)
Olive Stevenson