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Sibling sexual abuse project

Sibling sexual abuse is considered to be one of the most common forms of child sexual abuse within the family setting in the UK.

Children are more likely to be sexually abused by their siblings – brothers and sisters and stepbrothers and step-sisters – than by their parents. Yet, society’s awareness of sibling sexual abuse has trailed behind other child abuse issues and concerns. Support services and researchers agree it has received little or no attention and there is a lack of academic literature on the subject.

Today, it remains a hidden, chronically under-estimated and untreated form of child sexual abuse. It continues to be ignored, played down, or denied by parents, professionals, and authorities as harmless or non-threatening childhood sexual experimentation that does not require attention. This is despite the known life-time effects of sexual violence and abuse on the health and happiness of survivors.

The National Sibling Sexual Abuse Conference for frontline sectors

The National Sibling Sexual Abuse Conference for Frontline Sectors was held in February 2022, and was the first national conference on sibling sexual abuse in the U.K.

The web-based conference presentations are available to download. They contain useful information for adult victim-survivors and can support professionals to increase their confidence and knowledge of working with sibling sexual abuse.

The National Resource Centre

We are developing the National Resource Centre for adult survivors of sibling sexual abuse to increase the provision of nationally available specialist support and information for both adult victim-survivors of sibling sexual abuse and professionals working with adult survivors. We hope the information will also be useful for members of affected families as well.

The Resource Centre includes:

Information and resources

Organisations that can help

The Resource Centre has come out of the learning from the National Project on Sibling Sexual Abuse.

We are just starting the development of the Resource Centre and hope to work in partnership with adult victim-survivors and professionals to improve the quality and consistency of information and support across the UK. We believe individuals harmed by sibling sexual abuse can recover, heal and rebuild their lives.

Information/training Films

A short film about the impact of sibling sexual abuse and speaking out.

A new 7-min training film for professionals and practitioners on best practice responding to adult disclosures of sibling sexual abuse: Getting it right: the professional response to adult disclosures of childhood sibling sexual abuse

A new 2-min audio/voice training film for professionals and practitioners on working with adult survivors of sibling sexual abuse: Sarah’s voice: I hear you

About the project

This two-year project, which ended in March 2022, was the largest Government-funded project on sibling sexual abuse to date. Funded by the Home Office and Ministry of Justice ‘Support for Victims and Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (SVSCSA) Fund 2020 – 2022’, it was also the first England and Wales-wide project on sibling sexual abuse. The project was led by SARSAS as part of a partnership with Rape Crisis England & Wales (RCEW), West Mercia Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre, the University of the West of England and the University of Birmingham.

For any enquiries regarding The National Resource Centre, contact info@sarsas.org.uk

Downloadable resources

Useful links

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