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Getting help and support about child sexual abuse and exploitation

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Online Safety Child sexual abuse and exploitation

Whether you need help now, want to report your concerns or are looking for advice, there are a number of people and places trained to help.

If you're not ready to report your concern but want to talk to someone, you can call Parentline Scotland on 0800 28 22 33. Parentline is the national helpline providing advice and support to anyone caring for, or concerned about, a child. Alternatively, the NSPCC’s free helpline has trained counsellors on standby to advise and support. Call 0808 800 5000 or email

Worried and want to report your concerns?

Go straight to the CEOP Safety Centre, click the yellow button then fill in the details requested on the online form. Once complete, press ‘send’ and someone from CEOP will be in touch. 

Worried about criminal activity?

In some cases, children or young people may be pressured into taking part in criminal activity. The Fearless website from Crimestoppers has more information about how this can happen, how you can spot the signs and what you can do if you’re worried, including how to report any concerns anonymously.  This isn’t about getting the child in trouble but thinking about who might be exploiting them. 

 The NSPCC website has further advice about how to spot the signs of criminal exploitation and involvement in gangs and what support is available for children and young people.

Organisations offering information and support


Barnardo’s is the UK’s largest children’s charity. Barnardo’s runs over 50 specialist child sexual exploitation services throughout the UK and has significant experience of supporting and offering direct support to children, young people and their families who are at risk of or who have experienced child sexual exploitation.

Barnardo’s Scotland provides community-based services throughout the country, working with vulnerable children, young people and their families. 

Children 1st

Children 1st is Scotland’s National Children’s Charity offering services and support to promote the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable children. Children 1st operates Parentline Scotland, the national helpline providing advice and support for anyone caring for or concerned about a child.

Internet Watch Foundation

The IWF has a useful guide parents can download that has more information on talking to your child about how they use the internet more safely by setting boundaries and adding security settings. You can also report images of child sexual abuse to the IWF for removal. 

National Crime Agency

The National Crime Agency (NCA) works with child protection partners, including the police, across the UK and overseas to identify the main threats to children on and offline. It coordinates activity against these threats to bring abusers to account. 

The NCA run the CEOP Safety Centre and the CEOP Education programme provides information around staying safe online for young people and their parents, carers and teachers.


NSPCC is a charity organisation that aims to raise awareness and bring about a change in the law relating to care and protection of children. NSPCC offers a range of services, research and tools aimed at children, families and professionals. It operates a helpline for anyone concerned about a child, and its partner organisation Childline offers support to children themselves.


Parents against child sexual exploitation (PACE) works alongside parents and carers for children and young people who are (or are at risk of) being sexually exploited by perpetrators external to the family. 

Police Scotland 

Police Scotland work with Child Protection partners both nationally and internationally to ensure that children and young people are safe and perpetrators of child sexual abuse and exploitation are brought to justice.

For parents, family members and carers, support and guidance is available through contacting Police Scotland on 101 or if you think a child is in immediate danger contact 999.

Stop It Now!

Anyone with a concern about child sexual abuse and its prevention can anonymously call the Stop It Now! Helpline on 0808 1000 900. Stop It Now! encourage you to trust your gut and call, whatever your worry or level of concern. They also support anyone worried about a child or young person’s sexual behaviour around other children, or if they’ve got into trouble online. You can also call the helpline if you’re an adult concerned about a child or young person who may have been abused, a professional calling for case advice or an adult survivor of child sexual abuse.


Upstream is an online resource that enables adults in Scotland to prevent sexual abuse and protect children and young people. It has information on spotting the signs of sexual abuse, and advice on how to talk to your child about it and what to do if you’re concerned about a child you know. 

Information for children and young people


The Childline website has information on exploitation for children and young people, including advice on spotting the signs, getting support and what to do if they’re worried about a friend. Children and young people can also call Childline on 0800 111 or get support online.


YoungMinds, the charity for young people’s mental health, have information on what young people can do if they’re worried about abuse, and offer a 24 hour text service they can contact for further help.

Young Scot

Young Scot’s That’s Not OK website  has information for young people to help them spot the signs of abuse and say ‘that’s not ok’. It includes advice on where to get support if they’ve experienced violence or abuse.

Last updated: 17 Aug, 2023