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Cornish Child Abuse Warning

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7:00am 5th November 2012

Pirate FM has learnt the number of people worried about children being sexually abused in Cornwall has risen since the Jimmy Savile case.

But the NSPCC says most of the calls for help are about abuse happening now.

Last year the charity was told about 55 cases in the Duchy, with 22 of the calls coming from parents or carers.

The NSPCC receives enough information to refer nearly three quarters of contacts about neglect and physical abuse to police or children’s services, but for sexual abuse this falls to less than half.

The charity is appealing for parents' help since the marks of sexual abuse are harder to spot than physical attacks which leave bruises or marks on the body.

John Cameron, Head of the NSPCC's helpline, said: “Whilst we have seen a surge of calls in recent weeks relating to the Jimmy Savile revelations, we shouldn’t forget that the majority of sexual abuse happens is committed by someone close to the child. As a parent, knowing or suspecting that your child is being sexually abused can be incredibly traumatic. It can be difficult to know how to begin to do something about it. We understand that reporting concerns is not easy, particularly when the abuser is someone that the parent knows and perhaps trusts.  

"But to protect children, people need to act and we provide sensitive professional help and support. Even if they feel they have dealt with the situation themselves and their child is safe, other children may still be at risk from the abuser.

“When parents or others report abuse, whether it’s the NSPCC, children’s services or the police, professionals will work with them to protect the child, help them overcome the abuse and bring the abuser to justice.  We understand how difficult it has been for the caller, what it has meant to speak out and we will help them to help the child in the best possible way."

Teri contacted the NSPCC for advice on how to help her daughter recover from being sexually abused by her own father. She said: “I got really anxious waiting and waiting and worrying about my daughter. Things seemed to be moving very slowly so I called the NSPCC to see if there was anything else I could do. I had already stopped the contact between my daughter and her father before she told me about the abuse.

"I was at the end of my tether because I really didn’t know what to do or how to help my daughter. She’s only five. When I called and talked it through with the helpline counsellor, he pointed out that I shouldn’t blame myself for what happened and that it wasn’t my fault. He showed me there was something I could do now by trying to be there for my daughter. He gave me ideas on how to support her and where to go for help and who to speak to."

The charity is launching a new leaflet for parents. You can download it here. You can speak to someone from the NSPCC 24 hours a day by calling 0808 800 5000, emailing help@nspcc.org.uk, or texting 88858.

7:00am 5th November 2012

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