New campaign in Fife asks ‘what if you’re right?’ about child sexual abuse
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Launched today (Friday, February 9) the Child Protection Committees Scotland and Barnardo’s Scotland campaign is titled What If You’re Right?.
Designed with input from adult survivors of sexual abuse across Scotland it highlights both the immediate and long term consequences of child sexual abuse.
Dougie Dunlop, the independent chair of Fife’s Child Protection Committee, urged concerned adults not to ignore the signs.
He said: “We listened to many adult survivors of child sexual abuse as we developed this campaign. They were all clear that sexual abuse is not only horrendous at the time it is happening, but it can also cause lifelong physical and emotional damage. Trauma experienced as a result of child sexual abuse can ruin lives.”
Vicci, a child sexual abuse survivor who contributed to the campaign, endured sexual abuse by members of her extended family for many years, from a very young age.
She said: “It’s impacted my life in ways I could never have imagined. I’ve been in very dark places, I’ve been suicidal, I’ve been hospitalised. Certain sounds and smells can make me physically sick, even particular words can trigger flashbacks, and put me in a vulnerable and unsafe position.
“I struggle with a fear of never knowing who’s round the next corner and trust is a huge issue too - when those people, the abusers, have told you that they love you but then hurt you terribly, how do you then trust other people?”
If you see behaviour that is of concern, or if a child or young person tells you something worrying, you need to do something about it and speak to someone. You can speak to a teacher, health visitor, social worker or police officer. However, if you think a child has been harmed, telephone the Social Work Contact Centre or Police Scotland.
You can call Social Work on 03451 55 15 03, from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Out-with these hours, please call them on 03451 55 00 99.
For Police Scotland please phone 101. However If you consider a child or young person to be in immediate danger, do not wait and call the Police on 999.