Sex Abuse Figures Shock; Three Crimes a Day against North Children

Article excerpt

Byline: Sam Wood

POLICE in the North recorded more than three sexual offences every day against children last year, new figures have revealed.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) got the information after issuing Freedom of Information requests to every police force in the country.

In total there were 1,180 sex offences against under-18s recorded by police forces in this region in 2008. In the Northumbria force area there were 673 victims, with 241 aged 10 or under, among the highest in the country.

In Durham there were 267 victims, with 56 aged 10 or under. Two victims were aged three.

There were 96 victims in the Cleveland force area, with 18 aged 10 or under.

And Cumbria police recorded 174 victims, with 43 aged 10 or under.

Across the UK there were 20,758 alleged sex crimes involving under-18s reported to officers in England and Wales in 2008.

In almost one in four cases (4,984) the victims were 10 or younger, and more than 800 offences involved children aged four and under. Six times more sex crimes were recorded against girls than against boys.

This is the first time the charity has compiled the figures.

The Home Office's annual crime report shows there were a total of 53,540 recorded sexual offences of all kinds in 2007-08.

But the NSPCC says official statistics do not provide a clear picture of how many involved children. It is now calling on the Government to collect and publish annual police data showing the number and ages of victims.

The charity also wants these figures to be linked clearly to the number of convictions and other penalties that result from the recorded offences. …