How to contact us for advice

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Our advice service

We provide advice to parents, grandparents, relatives, friends and kinship carers who are involved with children’s services in England or need their help. We can help you understand processes and options when social workers or courts are making decisions about your child’s welfare.

Our advice service is free, independent and confidential.

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By phone or email

To speak to an adviser, please call our free and confidential advice line 0808 801 0366 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 3pm, excluding Bank Holidays). For Textphone dial 18001 followed by the advice line number. Or you can ask us a question via email using our advice enquiry form.

Discuss on our forums

Our online advice forums are an anonymous space where parents and kinship carers (also known as family and friends carers) can get legal and practical advice, build a support network and learn from other people’s experiences.

Advice on our website

Our get help and advice section describes the processes that you and your family are likely to go through, so that you know what to expect. Our webchat service can help you find the information and advice on our website which will help you understand the law and your rights.

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Sexual abuse definition

Sexual abuse is when a child is forced, pressurised or tricked into sexual activity with another person. This can include rape and sexual assault. Sexual harassment and online grooming are also forms of abuse. Another form of abuse is sexual exploitation. This is where a child is pressurised into having sex with someone, in return for something they need or want.

The sexual activity does not need to be physical. It does not need to involve any contact. A child can be sexually abused by being made to watch sexual images. They may be forced to be part of the production of sexual images. Sexual abuse also includes encouraging a child to behave in a sexual way. This includes grooming a child with the intention of sexually abusing them. Children may be groomed via the internet.

Sexual abuse is not only perpetrated by adult males. Adult males are the most common perpetrators though. Women can commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.

Sexual abuse is never a child’s fault.

For more information see our advice pages on:

Sexual abuse

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