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Dramatic rise in child sexual offences

Figures show greater need for therapeutic interventions for child sexual abuse victims

There is a greater need for therapeutic interventions for victims of child sexual abuse after a surge in the number of reported offences has emerged.

The NSPCC has reported that there were 41,457 child sex offences recorded in England and Wales last year. This was an increase of a third on 2013/14, when 31,238 sex offences were reported, according to the figures which were obtained under a Freedom of Information request.

In total, the number of child sexual offences including rape, grooming and sexual assault reported to the police in the UK last year was 45,456 or – 124 a day.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO said: “This dramatic rise is deeply worrying and shows just how extensive this appalling crime has become, claiming many victims every day, every hour.”

The statistics obtained from 45 police forces in the UK found:-

  • Abuse victims were usually female with nearly 4 female abuse cases 32,675 to every male 8,387.
  • 10,757 sex offence cases involved children aged 10 and under in 2014/15.
  • Of those, 2,409 had not yet reached school age.

The reason for the rise is unclear yet could be attributed to improved mechanisms for recording sex crimes amongst police forces, an increase in the prevalence of online grooming cases or survivors being encouraged to speak out following a number of high profile child sexual abuse cases and greater awareness on the subject.

With such a dramatic increase in recorded sex crimes, there has never been a greater need for therapeutic help for victims, the charity warns. It's Time campaign is calling on the government to increase funding for support services for children who have suffered abuse and ring- fence money for these survivors.

“Sexual abuse can shatter a child's mental health. It can leave them anxious, depressed and 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 how to handle disturbing emotions and behaviours and rebuild their lives,” Wanless added.

“Our It's Time Campaign demands that government make the mental health of abused children a priority so that some of the most vulnerable members of our society can start to recover,” he concluded.

Related article: Specialist social work training can improve outcomes for abused children

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