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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Learning about online sexual harm

Whose responsibility?

Participants’ responses indicated potential concerns in relation to the degree to which children and young people saw themselves as being responsible for preventing abuse occurring. Although participants recognised that parents, carers, industry and wider society all have a role to play in addressing online sexual harm, their contributions repeatedly suggested that they felt it was ultimately their responsibility to keep themselves safe. This emphasis on personal responsibility holds significant implications for victims’ feelings of guilt and self-blame, and blame from others. In addition, this belief was noted to inhibit the likelihood of children and young people seeking and receiving support in the event of experiencing abuse.

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