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Child abuse by mums is on the rise – shhh, Don’t tell the Anonymums

Posted on: November 9, 2009

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Child abuse by mums is on the rise

Monday, November 09, 2009, 00:02

MORE children than ever are calling a Swansea-based helpline to report being abused by their own mothers.

The NSPCC today released new figures showing that volunteers at ChildLine’s South Wales base in Swansea counselled a total of 536 children across the UK last year about sexual abuse — 85 of them by a female.

Nationally, ChildLine counselled 12,268 children for sexual abuse.

Although figures show the majority of calls were in relation to abuse by a male, the findings show that more children are reporting assaults from a woman, usually their mother.

ChildLine’s service manager at Swansea, Jonathan Green, said: “Most sex abuse calls to ChildLine come from girls saying they were assaulted by a male.


“Large numbers of children however say they were sexually abused by a female.

“Many people find it unimaginable that any woman, let alone a mother, can sexually assault a child.

“But that is a dangerous assumption to hold.

“It is so important therefore that we remain vigilant and act on any concern, irrespective of gender.”

At all ChildLine call centres last year, 2,142 young people across the UK told the charity they had been sexually abused by a female.

Of those callers counselled, 1,311 told ChildLine they had been abused by their mother.

The overall proportion of children calling ChildLine about a female offender has risen from 11 per cent of sex abuse calls in 2004/05 to 17 per cent in 2008/09.

One 14-year-old boy told a counsellor: “When mum drinks too much she comes into my room, undresses me and makes me have sex with her.”

Family relationship problems constitute the largest additional issue affecting children from across the UK who call to speak about sexual abuse, nearly a quarter of those counselled for sexual abuse.

This was followed for girls by physical abuse and pregnancy, and for boys, physical abuse and emotional abuse.

Mr Green said: “Sexually abused children are often driven to despair because they don’t know who to tell.

“Even when they summon the courage to speak, they are scared no-one will believe them.

“We have to listen to these children, take their concerns seriously and give them the protection and support they need.”

He added: “In the past 10 years, ChildLine counsellors have helped more than 100,000 sexually abused children.

“Sexual abuse is still one of the main reasons children contact us.

“For many, it is the first time they have told anyone about their ordeal.”

Children and young people can call ChildLine on 0800 1111 and can get information and support from the website:



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