Child sexual abuse costs UK a conservative £3bn a year, says NSPCC

Child sexual abuse costs UK a conservative £3bn a year, says NSPCC

In an effort to put “spending on child sexual abuse (CSA) in the context of other costly public health issues” the NSPCC has released a report documenting the current estimated cost of child sexual abuse cases with the aim of providing better information for future expenditure.

Author of the report, NSPCC’s Aliya Saied-Tessier said: “The purpose of this paper is not to attempt to perfectly capture how child sexual abuse affects every individual victim. It is to use the existing academic literature to calculate a ballpark figure for how much child sexual abuse costs the victims and society.”

The report concedes it is difficult to discover the true cost of child sexual abuse due to “substantial uncertainty around many factors”. This includes uncertainty surrounding the number of child sexual abuse victims and the long lasting and myriad outcomes that may affect a victim of abuse.

In order to create estimated costs, Jon Brown, head of strategy and development at NSPCC said they had to make certain “assumptions”, yet the figures presented in the report were “conservative”.

“It shows this is a multi-billion pound problem per annum,” said Brown.

The report states that the conservative estimation of child sexual abuse to the UK is in the region of £3.2bn, yet could be as far-reaching as £16bn.

Due to the secondary effect of child sexual abuse, it is hard to pinpoint how far reaching the problem can become. The report has aimed to include the wider effects of childhood sexual abuse and maltreatment, from personal anxiety to adult delinquent behaviour, in order to derive a true cost estimation.

In the wake of high profile child sexual abuse cases such as Operation Yewtree and the recent parliamentary scandal, the NSPCC hope the report will open up further dialogue with government.

“We hope policymakers will think about the costs that child sexual abuse imposes on society. We hope they recognise that while the costs to any individual government department may be small relative to their overall budgets, the cost to the UK is substantial. We hope that spending on effective recovery services and prevention programmes will be such that all victims who are ready to seek help can access it, and that one day child sexual abuse will be eradicated,”

said Saied-Tessier.