27 Mar Rise in child sex offences amidst “hundreds of crimes recorded” in Essex
The number of child sex offences recorded by police in Essex rose to 1,449 last year – an average of four a day – according to figures obtained by the NSPCC.
The number of offences increased by 12 per cent from the previous year. Police recorded crimes against children that included rape, sexual assault, and sexual exploitation.
A total of 444 crimes were recorded against children aged ten and under, while 69 of these crimes were perpetrated against children, who were too young to even attend primary school.
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.
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.
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.
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.