New research by NSPCC Scotland found access to recovery services remains patchy and fragmented despite a greater spotlight on child sexual abuse over the past decade.
The charity said more than 900 sexual crimes against children under the age of 13, including rape and sexual assault, were reported to Police Scotland last year (2016-17).
However the NSPCC found that more than half of the 17 local authority areas included in its latest research have no specialist service for children of primary school age who need help, while 15 of the 17 have no service for children aged under five years.
The charity is calling for the adoption of a multidisciplinary “Children’s House” model, where support for children’s psychological and emotional recovery following sexual abuse is available along with forensic services and facilities to help them give the best evidence to secure justice.
Matt Forde, national head of NSPCC Scotland, said: “We’ve seen recently how difficult it is for adults to come forward and report experiences of sexual abuse.
“Think how much harder it is then for children, especially if their abuser is in their own family.
“Only one in eight cases of child sexual abuse are thought to come to the attention of agencies so these young people we know of are just the tip of the iceberg. Abused children suffer terribly and we must make sure they get the support they need.
“It is concerning how little improvement there has been in services in the past 10 years.
“There has been a huge amount of national attention to child sexual exploitation, online grooming and other types of abuse, which is important, but the lack of help available on the ground to help children recover, especially for younger children and children with disabilities, is a serious issue.”
Research for NSPCC Scotland in 2008 found a picture of patchy and insecure provision, with services unable to meet demand and the charity found that this remains the case today, with many people suffering in silence.
The new report, which focuses on west central Scotland where more than half of Scotland’s child population live, will be launched at the Scottish Parliament today at an event chaired by Labour MSP Johann Lamont.
Rape Crisis Scotland director of operations Sandie Barton said: “Children and young people who have experienced sexual violence deserve access to trauma informed, specialist support and advocacy.
“At Rape Crisis Centres more and more young people are coming forward and demand is at an unprecedented level.
“We know from survivors that failing to provide timely access to appropriate support can have far reaching consequences. Children, young people and their families deserve better.”
One young person who was helped by Rape Crisis Scotland’s Rosey Project in Glasgow said: “Support from the centre has shown me that what I feel and how I feel it is both normal and justified, without the support I would still be lost.”
The NSPCC provides help to abused and neglected children throughout the UK.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Every young person should have an equal opportunity to succeed in life no matter their circumstances.
“Our rape and sexual assault taskforce is focused on ensuring that children’s healthcare needs are properly addressed.
“We are looking at the effective principles of child-centred, trauma-informed care that underpins Iceland’s Barnahus concept to ensure they are at the heart of paediatric services for children who experience sexual abuse.
“Through the Child Protection Improvement Programme we are identifying where the system can be strengthened to ensure children receive the right help at the right time.”