Sharp increase in child sex offences
Thames Valley Police data shows 2,488 offences committed last year
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.