20 Feb Rise in child sex offences recorded by Essex Police
The number of child sex offences recorded by Essex Police rose to 1,531 last year the NSPCC reveals today.
The number of offences recorded in 2016/17 increased from 1,449 offences recorded the previous year.
New figures obtained via a Freedom of Information request to police across the UK found officers recorded, crimes including rape, sexual assault and grooming – with 13 offences recorded against babies below the age of one in Essex.
A total of 480 crimes were recorded against children aged ten and under, while 138 of these crimes were perpetrated against children aged four and under.
Nationally there were a record 64,667 child sex offences recorded by UK police in 2016/17, up 15% on the previous year with an offence recorded on average every eight minutes.
One in ten of these offences were flagged as having an online element – a 59 per cent increase on the previous year.
The total number of sex offences committed against children is unknown, as more children may not have come forward out of fear or embarrassment, or may not even realise they have been abused.
The NSPCC believes the dramatic increase could be down to a number of factors:
– Police forces improving recording methods.
– Survivors feeling more confident in disclosing abuse following high-profile cases.
– Online groomers becoming a significant problem with predators able to reach hundreds of children.
The NSPCC is calling for government to direct more resources to ensure high-quality training and support is available to frontline police officers to help raise awareness of safeguarding procedures and tackle child sex offences, especially online.