Child sex offences hit all-time high

Neil Puffett
Thursday, March 23, 2017

The number of child sex offences recorded by police forces across the UK have hit a new high, figures obtained by the NSPCC have shown.

Statistics published today by the charity show that the number of recorded child sex offences rose to a record 55,507 in 2015/16 - an average of 152 a day. The figure represents a 19 per cent increase on the 2014/15 figure.

The NSPCC has called for the government to commit funds to early intervention work in order to try to help children recover.

The figures show that a total of 13,565 crimes were recorded against children aged 10 and under, while 2,799 of these crimes were perpetrated against children four and under, some of whom would be too young to even attend primary school.

The NSPCC believes the dramatic increase could be down to a combination of police forces improving recording methods, survivors feeling more confident in disclosing abuse following high-profile cases, and online grooming becoming a growing problem with perpetrators able to reach multiple children.

In addition to investment in early intervention services, the charity is calling for specialist training for police investigating online child abuse, and effective rehabilitation for child sex offenders.

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: "This steep rise lays bare just how extensive this appalling crime against children has become, claiming multiple victims every hour, some of whom are yet to say their first word.

"Sexual abuse can shatter a child's life and leave them feeling ashamed, depressed, or even suicidal. Now, more than ever, victims need help as soon as possible to help them recover from their ordeals and go on to lead full and happy lives.

"Government must commit funds to early intervention that better help these children who through no fault of their own are enduring so much pain."

The Department for Education has been contacted for comment.

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