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The number of abuse cases has risen in the North East

Child girl poor poverty sad upset abused

9:41am 20th February 2018
(Updated 9:43am 20th February 2018)

The number of sex crimes in the Northumbria force area has seen a 19 per cent increase, from 2016 to 2017.

The NSPCC reveal the number of crimes reported to police nationally it's reached a record high.

Over 64 thousand of them against children and young people have been recorded in the UK, that's 177 a day.

1-in-10 were flagged as having an online element.

Craig Thorley from the charity, says police need more funding to tackle the problem.

Over 2 thousand of the crimes were reported to the Northumbria Police force which saw a 19% increase year on year.

The NSPCC's rolling out a programme in primary schools to help children learn the signs of abuse.

The 'Speak Out. Stay Safe' initiative which has been delivered in schools across Wearside, will help children learn the signs of abuse in an age appropriate way and what to do if they have been victims.

NSPCC school service at St. Michael's primary Houghton

New figures obtained via a Freedom of Information request to police found officers recorded crimes including rape, sexual assault and grooming - with 193 offences recorded throughout the UK against babies younger than aged one.  

In Northumbria and Cleveland, 869 crimes were recorded against children aged ten and under, while 205 of these crimes were perpetrated against children four and under.

In 2016/17, almost one in six offences (468) recorded by police in Northumbria and Cleveland were flagged as having an online element - more than three times the number recorded 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.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC Chief Executive, said:

"This dramatic rise is extremely concerning and shows just how extensive child sexual abuse is."

"These abhorrent crimes can shatter a child's life, leaving them to feel humiliated, depressed, or even suicidal. That is why it is crucial every single child who has endured abuse and needs support must get timely, thorough help so they can learn to rebuild their lives."

"These new figures suggest the police are making real progress in how they investigate sex offences against children. To help them tackle the issue going forward, we must ensure the police are equipped to work with other agencies and provide ongoing support and training to officers on the frontline."

The charity also runs the Pantosaurus initiative as shown in the video below.

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