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Survivors of Sibling Sexual Abuse

We take a look at the RCEW National Project on Sibling Sexual Abuse report and provide helpful links for parents, professionals and survivors of sibling sexual abuse. 

The Statistics

Sibling sexual abuse is the most common form of child sexual abuse within homes here in the UK, but it is rarely talked about. Studies suggest that 5% of children have been affected by sibling sexual abuse. It is one of the lowest disclosed forms of sexual abuse, meaning the statistics around this are likely to be higher. 

The Problems 

The report demonstrates the lack of knowledge for the complicated and nuanced nature of sibling sexual abuse within our statutory systems and wider society. 

Many survivors of sibling sexual abuse fail to see themselves or their experiences represented within support systems like rape crisis centres or charities that deal with child abuse. There is a distinctive lack of resources available to survivors and parents.

There is systemic silencing around the magnitude of sibling sexual abuse. The fact that it is a taboo equates to a lack of conversation around the impact and prevalence of sibling sexual abuse, leading survivors to feel isolated, misunderstood and less willing to disclose. 

Family Dynamics 

The report describes sibling sexual abuse as “a complex, emotionally charged and destructive form of abuse; characterised by secrecy, shame and concealment.” It is every bit as harmful as any form of sexual abuse. 

Survivors often do not report from fear of fracturing the family unit and even being disbelieved or ostracised when their parents.

Useful links 

SARSAS – Somerset-based charity SARSAS has begun work on the Sibling Sexual Abuse Project, with aims to educate and de-stigmatise sibling sexual abuse as well as give survivors a voice. 

Sibling sexual abuse information and resources – SARSAS

SARSAS SSAP Policy Report_10037.indd

Sibling sexual abuse project – SARSAS

National Sibling Sexual Abuse Conference 2022 – SARSAS

Sibling sexual abuse information and resources – SARSAS

Organisations that can help – SARSAS

CSA – The Centre of expertise on child sexual abuse (CSA Centre)

Sibling sexual abuse: A knowledge and practice overview (csacentre.org.uk)

Stop It Now – The Lucy Faithfull Foundation, the only UK-wide charity dedicated solely to preventing child sexual abuse. 

Sibling sexual behaviour – Stop It Now – Resources and information as well as practical help for parents and child survivors of sibling sexual abuse. 

Sibling-sexual-abuse-safety-plan-final.pdf (stopitnow.org.uk) – For Parents or professionals of child survivors of sibling sexual abuse.