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15% rise in child sex offences

NSPCC warns that a sexual offence is carried out against a child every eight minutes

Published on 20th February 2018

The number of child sex offences has risen by 15%, according to figures published by the NSPCC.

The children’s charity states that there were 64,667 recorded child sexual offences reported last year meaning a sexual offence is carried out against a child every eight minutes in the UK.

NSPCC Chief Executive Peter Wanless said: “This dramatic rise is extremely concerning and shows just how extensive child sexual abuse is.”

“These abhorrent crimes can shatter a child’s life, leaving them to feel humiliated, depressed, or even suicidal. That is why it is crucial every single child who has endured abuse and needs support must get timely, thorough help so they can learn to rebuild their lives,” he added.

Of the 64,667 recorded child sexual offences:

  • 13,876 were against children aged 10 or under
  • 2,788 were against children aged 4 or under
  • 193 were against babies under the age of 1.
  • One in 10 of the crimes had an online element – a rise of 59% on the previous year.

However, the NSPCC warns that the exact number of sex offences committed against children is unknown. Children may not have come forward because they're frightened, ashamed or don't realise they've been abused.

The charity says a number of factors could have contributed to the rise, including improved recording methods among police forces and children feeling more confident in disclosing sexual abuse following high-profile cases. However, it could also be a result of online groomers becoming a significant problem and able to reach hundreds of children.

The NSPCC is calling on government to ensure training and support is available to frontline police officers to help raise awareness of safeguarding procedures and tackle child sex offences, especially online.

“These new figures suggest the police are making real progress in how they investigate sex offences against children. To help them tackle the issue going forward, we must ensure the police are equipped to work with other agencies and provide ongoing support and training to officers on the frontline,” Mr Wanless concluded.

 

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