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Child sexual offences recorded by police remain close to record levels

New data reveals almost 87,000 sexual offences against children were recorded by police in 2022/23.

12/01/24

Child sexual offences recorded by police remain close to record levels

New research reveals that child sexual offences recorded by police over the past year remain close to record levels.

Children’s charity NSPCC submitted a Freedom of Information request which showed a total of 86,962 sexual offences against children were recorded by police across the UK in 22/23. This remains one of the highest on record since we started this annual research 16 years ago.

Types of offences recorded included rape, sexual assault, grooming and sexual exploitation. The highest number of crimes where age was known were against 11-15 year olds.

The charity says the research is why they are launching a new campaign in partnership with the Home Office to tackle child sexual abuse, encouraging adults to contact our Helpline if they are concerned a child could be at risk. The partnership also encourages people to report on instances where there are concerns that a child might be experiencing sexual abuse.

The Home Office is providing funding for the Helpline to increase capacity as well as to raise awareness of the service to the public and professionals.

“I’m still haunted by something that happened in my past,” one boy, aged 14, told NSPCC’s Childline. “When I was 11, I was assaulted by an older boy at my school. I tried telling my head of year how this boy had touched me without my consent, but they said there was nothing they could do… I was too scared to tell anyone else after that as I worried about getting the same response.”

The charity also operates a dedicated Whistleblowing Helpline, which can be contacted for any concerns around child protection within the workplace, or other professional organisations.

This campaign and focus on the Helpline follows the report released in October 2022 by IICSA. Over seven years, IICSA received evidence and testimonies from thousands of people who had experienced sexual abuse as a child, resulting in a detailed set of recommendations that address the prevalence of child sexual abuse.

This report found that child sexual abuse and exploitation had been, and remains, under-reported.

In the 12 months following the IICSA report, the Helpline was contacted the equivalent of once every hour with concerns from adults about children experiencing sexual abuse.

Kam Thandi, Helpline Director at NSPCC, said the high numbers of child sexual offences being recorded are a “warning to us all that more must be done to tackle this abuse.”

“This new Helpline campaign, in partnership with the Home Office, will encourage the general public and professionals to reach out with concerns about child sexual abuse.”

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