How can sexual abuse and sexual violence be prevented in the UK?

By Counselling Directory member Yvonne J Douglas

Sexual abuse is an age-old problem affecting far too many and more than we care to imagine. With the recent spate of footballers coming out about their experience of sexual abuse within the industry, it has brought back into the spotlight the issues of child sexual abuse, putting the agenda back on the table.

With past revelations of it happening within the entertainment industry and religious institutions, it seems like sexual abuse is everywhere. Prevention is better than cure, this we do know. How can sexual abuse and sexual violence be prevented in the UK?

Education is one way. Parents need to have that age-appropriate discussion with their children from a very early age about the importance of anyone touching them inappropriately. Unfortunately, sexual abuse often happens in the home, what then? This leads to a need for the school system to safeguard the children that are entrusted into their care. Oftentimes abusers will threaten children if they tell; this is why sexual abuse can continue for years, so this needs to be addressed also. We have to be very direct, albeit discreet and respectful, regarding this type of education.

Many family units are so disaffected and dysfunctional and it is generally a pattern that goes back generations, hence why families need healing on many levels in order to break the cycle. Systemic therapy, openness and complete honesty about one’s family of origin are necessary. These sorts of families suffering from transgenerational trauma, low self-esteem and sexual dysfunction need serious intervention.

Will we be able to devise a preventive model that actually eradicates child sexual abuse, or at least provide earlier alerts? With it being so prevalent and ingrained in the fabric of our society it seems not, but we can make a concerted effort to do our absolute best as a nation.

With government backing, legislation, funding, tougher sentences and a collaborative approach from those mentioned above, as well as the courts, the police and the therapeutic professions we can do better. Investing in prevention is key; it is likely to cost less than investing in the cure.

As we usher into this new age, humanity needs cleansing and healing. Our vibrations need to rise, as this starts to happen, the positivity will make a difference in our very existence and limit the amount of negative, dysfunctional and sick behaviour. Preventing sexual abuse is a mammoth task, there is no doubt about that, however, we can at least try.

For more information on this or other counselling topics, or to find a counsellor in your area to talk to, please visit

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Yvonne J Douglas is a fully trained CBT counsellor based in London with a 1st Class Honours Degree from Newham University Centre. 

Yvonne works holistically with her clients and has experience working with those trying to overcome childhood sexual abuse and those who have experienced domestic violence as a child and/or adult.

Sexual Assault FAQ

How can sexual abuse and sexual violence be prevented in the UK?
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