The NSPCC is launching a campaign reminding people that sexual abuse against children is not just an "historical" problem.
The children's charity fears that following the Jimmy Savile scandal, where many of his victims were abused during the 1970s and 1980s, the public may wrongly believe that sexual abuse is not as common now as it was then.
The NSPCC is also worried that people still do not know where to go for help or that they will hesitate to report abuse until they feel 100 percent certain.
Director of the NSPCC Helpline Peter Watt said, "By bravely speaking out, Savile's victims have done a great public service in raising awareness of child sex abuse and its long-lasting, devastating effect on victims".
"Our advert aims to remind people that child abuse remains a widespread problem and children are still abused today", he said, adding, "We want to send out a clear message about how vitally important it is to act on your suspicions and that the NSPCC is here to help you do this".
Parents 'will be helped' to bring child abusers to justice
John Cameron, Head of the NSPCC's helpline, said the charity had received a "surge of calls" in recent weeks relating to the allegations of abuse against Jimmy Savile. But he said:
We shouldn't forget that the majority of sexual abuse is committed by someone close to the child. As a parent, knowing or suspecting your child is being sexually abused can be incredibly traumatic.
But to protect children, people need to act and we provide sensitive professional help and support. Even if they feel they have dealt with the situation themselves and their child is safe, other children may still be at risk from the abuser.
Some parents are concerned that they will not be believed, or that they may be blamed for not preventing it. But Mr Cameron dismissed those worries, saying:
When parents or others report abuse, whether it's the NSPCC, children's services or the police, professionals will work with them to protect the child, help them overcome the abuse and bring the abuser to justice. Our new leaflet helps parents to take the difficult steps in identifying and reporting sexual abuse.
– John Cameron
The NSPCC's new guidance for parents and carers, 'What can I do? Protecting your child from sexual abuse,' is available now to download from www.nspcc.org.uk.
Majority of child abuse calls fail due to lack of information
More than half of all calls made to the NSPCC about child abuse cannot be referred to the police or social services due to lack of information, the charity revealed today, as it issued new guidance on how to better protect children.
Parents play an essential role in reporting suspected cases, the charity said, as they are able to detect less obvious and often non-physical abuse - compared to the marks and bruises more easily spotted by teachers, neighbours or family friends.
Over a third of calls to the NSPCC about child sexual abuse are made by the child's own parent. Yet many often hesitate to provide enough detail to allow further action to be taken, the guidelines said, as the suspected abuser is often a relative or well known to the caller.
A record number of calls about child neglect to the NSPCC last year reveal a "worrying trend", the charity has warned.
New figures show that between April 2011 and March 2012 the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) counsellors dealt with over 12,000 contacts about neglect from the public - the biggest number of reports about the subject since the helpline was launched.
40% of new mothers struggle to cope with parenting
The NSPCC is calling on the Government to make sure new mothers have better support to cope with the "emotional turmoil" of looking after a child. Their survey found that two in five women struggle in the first few weeks after giving birth, and many felt isolated with no one to turn to.