Advice for friends and relatives

It is often hard to know whether someone has been raped or sexually assaulted or if they are being sexually abused unless they tell you. Also, many children and young people can find themselves in inappropriate relationships with people older than them that they will insist is a “consensual” or even a caring relationship.

If you are concerned that any child or young person is being sexually abused, you should read the NSPCC information about child sexual abuse by following the link below. They give good explanations of warning signs that a young person or child may be being sexually abused. If you are worried about a child or young person, even if you are unsure, you can contact an NSPCC professional 24/7 for help, advice and support on 0808 800 5000.

Supporting a survivor of rape or sexual assault

It is not easy supporting someone who has been raped or sexually assaulted. It can be even harder when the person you care about is a young person under the age of 18. It is very unlikely that you will have any experience at all with helping people who have been sexually assaulted, which often makes people feel powerless and like they are letting someone down.

You can be a good source of support for the child or young person in your life that has been sexually assaulted or raped. We will make sure that they get professional help and support, but you can be there for them to help them on their path to feeling better. You can click the box below if you would like to know more about how you can give help and support to someone you care about in the hours, days, weeks and months after their trauma.

Your wellbeing

Just as it will almost certainly have an emotional impact on the person who has been raped or sexually assaulted, supporting someone through this period of their life can be a difficult time for you as well. Especially when it is someone you care about, like a child, a best friend, a brother or a sister, the effect that trying to be there for them in their time of need can have on your own wellbeing can be significant.

This can often make people feel guilty for feeling overwhelmed when they have not been through the trauma of a rape or sexual assault themselves. This is understandable. You have probably never been trained in how to deal with this situation and it is perfectly normal to feel like you can’t cope. If you are having trouble coping with supporting a survivor of rape or sexual assault, click below to learn more about getting support for yourself.


If a child or young person that you know has been raped, sexually assaulted, or you suspect they may have been the victim of sexual abuse over a period of time, we urge you to contact us for advice. Call our 24/7 advice line now on 0800 183 0023

If you know of a child or young person who might need our service, you can click the box below to access information on what you and the young person you are concerned about can expect to happen after you contact us.

I know a child or young person who has been raped or sexually assaulted

Information for Children Under 13

We’ve written a guide that you can give to children under the age of 13 which explains what happens when they come to the centre.
The guide is available as a PDF, so you can view it on your computer or print a copy.

Under 13s Guide