Hundreds more sex crimes against children

By Richard Guttridge | Crime | Published:

Recorded sexual offences against children in one year rose to almost 7,400 in the West Midlands, latest figures showed.

The NSPCC says there is a national crisis

A total of 7,398 sex crimes against children were reported to West Midlands, Staffordshire and West Mercia police forces during 2018/19, an increase of four per cent on the previous 12 months when there were 7,064.

It comes as offences reached an all-time high nationally, with the NSPCC saying the figures showed there was a "nationwide crisis". 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 also revealed that where age of victim was provided, 16,773 offences were recorded nationally against children aged 10 and under, with 341 of the offences against babies under one.

In the West Midlands there was a 10 per cent rise in the number of reports in 2018/19, jumping from 3,304 to 3,624.

Reports increased by 47 per cent in Staffordshire, from 1,176 to 1,737.

While in the West Mercia force area, which includes Shropshire and Worcestershire, reports went up from 1,949 to 2,037, a rise of four per cent.

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: "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.”

The charity has called for 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.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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