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Over SIX sex crimes a day against children in south-west

Over SIX sex crimes a day against children in south-west

Published by Emma Carton at 8:11am 24th October 2019. (Updated at 9:26am 24th October 2019)

Stock Image of Child (Model): Tom Hull

Police in Cornwall and Devon record more than six sex crimes against children every day.

Figures released by the NSPCC show our force logged almost 2,500 cases in the last year.

The charity says that there were over 76,000 offences recorded nationwide - an all-time high.

Scoll down to read how to spot the signs of child sexual abuse, as the NSPCC calls for action.

What do the figures show?

There were 76,204 recorded offences including rape, grooming and sexual assault against children in the UK in 2018/19 - an average of one every seven minutes.

Analysis of the data also reveals that where age of victim was provided, 16,773 offences were recorded against children aged ten and under.

Worryingly, 341 of the offences were against babies under the age of one. 

Police forces in the south-west recorded 5,515 sexual offences against children in 2018/19, a number that has steadily increased over the last five years.

The latest figures show a 44% combined increase of offences recorded by Devon and Cornwall Police, Avon and Somerset Police, Dorset Police, Gloucestershire Constabulary, and Wiltshire Police, up from 3,841 in 2014/15.

Sex Crimes Against Children

What action is being taken?

The NSPCC says children who suffered sexual abuse will often need extensive support but overstretched services are failing to keep pace with demand.

The charity is calling for a radical reshaping of how this support is delivered across the country.

It wants to see the provision of specialised services around the country, with an emphasis on early joined up support from police, local NHS services, children's services and advocacy for children who have experienced sexual abuse, offered in child-friendly spaces.

"Record numbers of child sexual offences means we are facing a nationwide crisis in the help available for tens of thousands of children. 

"These children are bravely disclosing what happened to them but in too many cases there is not enough timely, joined up and child-friendly support. Instead they are shunted from overstretched service to service.

"We need a radical rethink in the way we help these young people, otherwise they could struggle for the rest of their lives with long term, deep seated trauma".

CEO of the NSPCC, Peter Wanless

What are the signs of child sex abuse?

The NSPCC says the warning signs include:

  • Being overly-affectionate towards strangers or people they haven't known for very long
  • Lacking confidence or become wary or anxious
  • Being aggressive or nasty towards other children and/or animals
  • Struggling to control strong emotions or have extreme outbursts
  • Lacking social skills or have few, if any, friends

Childline provides a safe, confidential place for children with no one else to turn to, whatever their worry, whenever they need help.

Children can contact Childline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0800 1111 or by visiting the Childline website.

The free helpline provides adults with a place they can get advice and support, share their concerns about a child or get general information about child protection.

Adults can contact the helpline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0808 800 5000, by texting 88858 or visiting the NSPCC website.

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