‘The Family Secret’ on Channel 4 on 3 December 2019 covered the issue of abuse within families C4 The Family Secret . This is an issue we hear about more than any other on our support line. Around 85% of people who have called NAPAC for support suffered abuse within their family network. The abuse was either one or a combination of physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect.
Around one in twelve callers to our support line were abused by a sibling – 5% by their brother and 2% by their sister. While all siblings fight or may experiment with each other sexually, when we talk about sibling abuse, we mean consistent intimidation, manipulation, coercion or outright physical or sexual abuse by an older or stronger sibling.
Sibling abuse almost always grows out of neglectful or abusive parenting. Children copy behaviours of adults or, as a way of coping with a dysfunctional environment, may use their siblings to get fundamental needs met. All of this can very quickly slide into abusive behaviour among siblings.
Who should I tell?
Callers to our support line also often speak about how their disclosure of abuse by a family member caused a split within the family because individual members, for their very own reasons, take sides with either the survivor or the abuser
What support is available?
We hear daily on our support line about the wide range of impacts of an abusive childhood, including anxiety, depression, guilt and shame, relationship issues, alcohol or drug addiction, low self-esteem and self-harm.
If you suffered abuse as a child, you may find our series of six booklets helpful NAPAC’s Survivor Booklets in PDF or in audio Our Common Concerns page covers frequently asked questions (FAQs)About our support line and email service
Restorative Justice for adult survivors of child sexual abuse
Restorative Justice may be used for child sexual abuse cases. It represents an alternative to the traditional criminal justice route and can prevent the inevitable re-traumatisation that comes from giving statements and cross-examination in court.
Other support or supporting someone else
To find local support Find local support
If a friend or family member suffered abuse in childhood, we offer some advice on what you can do to help Know a Survivor?
Why can’t I get through to your support line?
In the days following TV programmes which cover non-recent child abuse, it can be difficult to get through to our support line, as we may get a surge in people contacting us. Each call may be up to half an hour long, so please keep trying, as you will get through.
We had 62,333 call attempts to our support line last year and were able to answer just 8,624 of these calls. If you would like to find out more about how you can support us, click here
NAPAC provides support to adults who suffered any type of abuse in childhood. We are the leading UK charity supporting adult survivors of child abuse, however we are much smaller than many people realise – we have the equivalent of 10 full time staff.