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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Support services for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse

Definition of support services

While support services may mean different things to different people at different times, for the purposes of this report support services are defined as:

Any service, organisation or intervention that provides support, advice or treatment to victims, survivors and their families to reduce the impact of having experienced child sexual abuse.[1]

Specifically, three broad forms of services are explored: justice, recovery and health.[2]



  1. It should be noted that this research looks at formal/official support services. Victims and survivors may also have access to informal support – for example, through family and friends – which is not considered here.
  2. For the purposes of this report, ‘justice’-based services include: the police, Crown Prosecution Service, criminal and civil courts, sexual assault referral centres and Independent Sexual Violence Advisors. ‘Recovery’-based services include: counselling, psychotherapy, specialist child sexual abuse support services, faith groups, Samaritans and children’s charities. ‘Health’-based services include: hospital services, sexual health services, mental health services and general practitioners.
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