The NSPCC is calling for police officers to have support and training in safeguarding procedures after the number of child sexual offences rose by 15% last year.
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.
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.
There were 64,667 child sexual offences recorded last year and one in 10 had an online element – a 59% rise on the previous year.
“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,” said Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC.
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.
The charity attributes the rise in recorded offences to improved recording mechanisms among police forces and increased confidence in disclosure following high profile cases. However, increased activity from people grooming children could also be to blame.
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.