More children are victims of abuse says the NSPCC

Sex offences against children in Lincolnshire have increased by 23 per cent in one year according to figures released by the NSPCC.

The charity says that in 2015/16 738 child sex offences were recorded in the county, compared with 598 in 2014/15, equating to an average of more than two a day.

It is a similar picture throughout the country as a whole, with recorded child sex offences across the UK at an all time high.

Latest police statistics found in Lincolnshire over a quarter of crimes (197) were recorded against children aged ten and under, while 49 of these crimes were against victims aged four and under.

Detective Superintendent Richard Hatton, Head of Public Protection for Lincolnshire Police, said they had seen a rise saying: “The confidence of victims to report both recent and historic complaints is evident. We are becoming increasingly skilled in identifying victims with our new grooming unit and on line investigation team and this has led to investigations where we have proactively identified victims that are being targeted by on-line paedophiles.”

NSPCC Chief Executive Peter Wanless commented: “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.”

The charity says online grooming is becoming a major problem and believes many children may not have come forward because they are frightened, embarrassed, or do not realise they have been abused.

To cope with numbers, the NSPCC is calling for specialist training for police investigating online child abuse, effective rehabilitation for child sex offenders, and investment in early intervention services to help children recover.

The NSPCC’s ‘Speak Out. Stay Safe’ programme visits primary schools across the UK to help children learn the signs of abuse and what to do if they have been the victim of such abuse.