NOTE: This content is old - Published: Wednesday, Mar 9th, 2016.
The number of child sex offences reported to police in North Wales rose by nearly 27 per cent last year.
There were 398 sexual offences against children reported to the North Wales force in 2014 -15 up from 314 the previous year.
Figures from all four of Wales’ police forces obtained by NSPCC Wales show a 21 per cent rise on 2013-14, from 1,446 sexual offences against children in Wales to 1753 in 2014-15, and average of five a day.
More than 320 allegations concerned children aged 10 and under and 135 were aged five and under.
NSPCC Wales said alleged victims may now feel more confident about coming forward following greater awareness about sexual abuse and police may have improved their recording methods.
The figures may only reveal a small part of the whole picture, as many children are afraid to speak about their experiences. A recent NSPCC report also revealed some young victims say they are not believed when they report sex crimes to police.
Across England and Wales the number of recorded child sexual offences soared by a third compared to last year, with more than 41,000 sex crimes inflicted upon young people.
A reason for the significant increases remains unclear however, the NSPCC believes victims may now feel more confident about coming forward following greater awareness about sexual abuse.
Police forces may have improved their recording methods or become more vigilant about sexual crimes high-profile historic cases may have also encouraged survivors to speak out.
Head of NSPCC Cymru / Wales, Des Mannion, said:
“These figures paint a very worrying picture of just how extensive these appalling crimes have become.
“A huge rise across Wales is clearly troubling and we will seek to understand why offences have increased so significantly.
“Where better recording of this crime has at least contributed to a rise, police forces must be applauded and we wholeheartedly welcome any boost in confidence that is helping victims to come forward
“While high-profile cases may dominate the headlines, we must not forget that around 90 per cent of sex offences against children are committed by someone they know – a relative, a family friend or an acquaintance.
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Child Protection, Chief Constable Simon Bailey said:
“The figures collated by the NSPCC on child sexual offences reported to police are another reminder of the shocking scale of child sexual abuse.
“Changes in police recording and victims’ improved confidence in how the police will deal with abuse have played a significant part in the increase in reports to us. But I am now starting work with academics to consider whether more children are actually being abused. The internet has opened up new opportunities for abusers to groom children, view indecent images and watch and direct live sexual abuse of children and we need to understand the impact of this.
“Police have improved our response to sexual abuse and every single day we are safeguarding children at risk, investigating offences and bringing abusers to court, however, by the time the report comes to us the damage is done so colleagues working in social care, education and health need work together to stop abuse before it happens. Police work will continue but we ask everyone to help us by being alert to signs of abuse and sharing any concerns however small they may seem.
226 (13/14) 380 (14/15) 72% increase
314 (13/14) 398 (14/15) 26.7% increase
299 (13/14) 328 (14/15) 9.7% increase
607 (13/14) 637 (14/15) 4.9% increase