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Sparks in the Dark » CSAE Response » Victim support

Victim support

Following a case of abuse, there are many areas to consider, including the damage inflicted on the child. The trauma is substantial, potentially leading to enduring pain that can be challenging to surmount independently, even into adulthood.

Hence, it’s crucial that victims and survivors of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation (CSAE) receive empathy and care from their friends, family, and loved ones. However, the most vital support often comes from professional therapeutic assistance.

It’s also important to note that materials created during abuse are often available online long after the first crime was committed, resulting in revictimisation which has a devastating influence on the victim.



Depression has been found in 57 per cent of young people who have experienced CSE. (Source)


The risk of CSA victims and survivors attempting suicide can be as much as six times greater than in the general population. (Source)


of child sexual abuse material detected over the past three years has featured girls 


NCMEC saw an 82% increase in reports concerning online enticement last year, which included an alarming new trend in which offenders aggressively blackmail children for financial gain. (Source)

An estimated 3.1 million adults aged 18 to 74 years were victims of sexual abuse before the age of 16 years. This includes abuse by both adult and child perpetrators. (Source)

Who are Victims and a Survivors?

“Victim” is a term used to define children who have been sexually abused or exploited. However, in the case of CSAE, a more suitable term is “child victim”, because of the different characteristics, vulnerabilities, and needs of children compared to adults. This term should not be used to label a person as weak or helpless.

“Survivor” in turn is used to describe a person who is already in the process of recovering from the abuse or exploitation. These two terms are often used interchangeably.

It is worth noting that the term “victim” also includes people who have suffered indirectly because of someone else actions. This means, that in some cases, close relatives of abused children, or even the family of an abuser can be considered victims too, as their life changed significantly since the crime was committed or reported.

Learn more about proper terminology on ecpat.org: Luxembourg Guidelines


Trauma is a response to an extremely stressful situation with long-lasting effects and can be passed through generations, but with the right support it is possible to heal. Traumatic life experiences can affect people's lives significantly, increasing the risk of worse physical and mental health and poorer social, educational and criminal outcomes. Symptoms may appear even many years after the incident.

Symptoms of trauma

Intrusive thoughts, including flashbacks or nightmares
Changes in behaviour
Sleep disruption
Chest pain, headaches

The effects of CSAE can affect the victim's mental, physical, emotional, social, or spiritual well-being, leading to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and even drug or alcohol abuse. But with proper treatment and support from society and loved ones, negative effects can be overcome and healed.

Survey for survivors of sexual violence in childhood

Did you experienced sexual violence in childhood? Protect Children, a non-profit, non-governmental Helsinki-based organisation, aims to raise the voice and wisdom of those who have been subjected to sexual violence in their early years through this survey. The gathered information will serve as a basis to produce a report, which will be used to guide awareness and advocacy work for impacting legislative change to strengthen the rights of victims and to better protect children.

By answering the survey, you can help protect children from sexual violence and promote the rights of victims.
Check it out at www.ourvoicesurvey.com

Key recommendations

There is a need to develop a trauma-led online harm response model, drawing upon existing survivor networks where possible to understand the victim journey and key system interaction points.

Define and communicate common categories of victim types so that victims can be correctly identified and system responders can tailor their response to be as effective as possible

Develop a trauma-led online harms response model to understand the victim journey and key system interaction points.

Featured EU victim support actions


EU Funded


CESAGRAM will work towards a Comprehensive European Strategy against Grooming and Missing children by conducting a range of separate yet interconnected activities: Research, Training and Awareness Raising, the creation of an AI Tool, and Advocacy. The project will be delivered through a partnership consisting of 11 expert organisations and is funded by the European Commission.

Victim support is just one of three pillars of countering CSAE!

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