- Recorded child sex offences across UK police at all-time high
- Figure soared by nearly a fifth to 55,507 recorded crimes against children and young people
- NSPCC calls for investment in early recovery services for abused children
The number of child sex offences recorded by police in the UK rose to a record 55,507 last year – an average of 152 a day – according to figures obtained by the NSPCC.
The number of offences recorded in 2015/16 increased by nearly a fifth from the previous year. Police recorded crimes against children that included rape, sexual assault, and sexual exploitation.
Latest statistics gained through NSPCC requests to police found officers recorded, on average, one child sex offence every 10 minutes.
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 a number of reasons could explain the dramatic increase:
The total number of sex offences committed is unknown, as more children may not have come forward because they are frightened, embarrassed, or do not realise that they have been abused.
- Police forces improving recording methods.
- Survivors feeling more confident in disclosing abuse following high-profile cases.
- Online grooming becoming a major problem with predators reaching multiple children.
To cope with the numbers of children coming forward the NSPCC is calling for specialist training for police investigating online child abuse, effective rehabilitation for child sex offenders, and investment in early intervention services to help children recover.
The NSPCC’s 'Speak out. Stay safe' programme visits primary schools across the UK to help children learn the signs of abuse and what to do if they have been the victim of such abuse.
The charity’s 'Letting The Future In' service also provides therapy for children who have been sexually abused, and its 'Protect and Respect' programme helps older children and young people who have been, or are at risk of being, sexually exploited.
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.'