Sharp in­crease in child sex of­fences

Thames Val­ley Po­lice data shows 2,488 of­fences com­mit­ted last year

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

The fig­ures, ob­tained by the NSPCC, found that 2,488 of­fences were com­mit­ted dur­ing last year and 690 of those were against chil­dren ages 10-years-old or un­der.

To cope with the in­creas­ing num­ber of crimes, which in­clude rape and sex­ual as­sault, the NSPCC is call­ing for spe­cial­ist train­ing for po­lice in­ves­ti­gat­ing on­line abuse, ef­fec­tive reha- bil­i­ta­tion for of­fend­ers and in­vest­ment in early in­ter­ven­tion ser­vices to help chil­dren re­cover.

NSPCC Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Peter Wan­less said the fig­ures ob­tained show that much more needs to be done to pre­vent child sex of­fences from hap­pen­ing.

He 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 much pain.”

NSPCC sug­gest one rea­son for the 37% in­crease it that on­line groom­ing is be­com­ing a ‘ma­jor prob­lem’ with ‘preda­tors reach­ing mul­ti­ple chil­dren‘ when on­line.

Al­though a 37% in­crease is con­firmed, the to­tal num­ber of sex of­fences com­mit­ted is un­known, as more chil­dren may not have come for­ward be­cause they are fright­ened or do not re­alise they have been abused.

To help ed­u­cate chil­dren, NSPCC’s ‘Speak Out. Stay Safe’ pro­gramme vis­its schools across the UK to help chil­dren learn the signs of so 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.

Visit https://www. nspcc.org.uk for help and fur­ther in­for­ma­tion.

New laws have been passed that mean from April, po­lice will be able to charge adults who send a sex­ual mes­sage to a child.

Sex­ual com­mu­ni­ca­tion with a child on­line is to be­come a crim­i­nal of­fence un­der a new law to be an­nounced, which aims to clamp down on sex­ual preda­tors. As it stands, pae­dophiles who en­gage with chil­dren on­line can get let off the hook if no pic­tures have been down­loaded to their com­put­ers.

This new law – which will come un­der the Se­ri­ous Crime Bill – will close a loop­hole so that po­lice can tar­get those who send sex­ual text mes­sages or try to in­vite vic­tims to com­mu­ni­cate sex­u­ally, re­gard­less of whether or not the re­cip­i­ent of those mes­sages replies or re­sponds in any sex­ual way.

The law ap­plies to any­one over the age of 18 try­ing to send a sex­ual mes­sage to any­one un­der the age of 16 – whether that’s on Face­book, SMS, What­sApp, email or any other com­mu­ni­ca­tions chan­nel.

The of­fence will be pun­ish­able by up to two years in jail.

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