Understanding Why Children May Stay Quiet About Abuse

It’s impossible to put an exact number on how many children in the UK are suffering from abuse at any one time as so many cases go undetected or are never reported. The NSPCC states that there are currently over 56,000 children identified as needing protection from abuse in the UK, yet this doesn’t represent the full story.

It’s actually predicted that for every child needing protection from abuse, another 8 are suffering in silence. This could put the actual figure nearer to half a million children.

But why do so many children never speak out about the abuse they are suffering? There are plenty of places that children can turn to for help, whether it’s their parents, a teacher, a family friend or a service like ChildLine. And whilst it’s true that some children do willingly disclose information about what’s happening to them, the majority will never say anything, or at least not at the time. A 2013 report by the NSPCC found that it takes 7.8 years (on average) for a child to open up to someone about sexual abuse..


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