Three Child-Sex Cases a Day Reported; FIGURES SHOW LESS THAN ONE IN 10 RESULT IN SENTENCING

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Byline: SAM MALONE

MORE than 1,200 child-sex crimes were reported to police in Wales last year - an average of three every day.

Of the victims, nearly a third were too young for secondary school with 7% of these aged under five.

At 1,009, the number of girl victims was five times higher than boys - 185. In 16 cases the gender was unknown.

The statistics, obtained by the NSPCC in a freedom of information request, also reveal that 50 of the under-18s had already been victims of sex offences but only two of the forces were able to supply this information.

Fewer than one in 10 of all the reported child-sex offences ended in someone being sentenced.

The figures cover crimes including rape, incest and child prostitution as well as abuse of children through pornography.

They come on the one year anniversary of the introduction of the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme - also known as Sarah's Law - which allows the public to ask the police whether anyone with access to their child is on the sex offender's register.

In its first year, two of the four Welsh police forces received a combined total of more than 100 requests with 10 sex offenders identified - South Wales Police were asked 64 times while 39 requests were sent to Gwent Police. Details of the number of requests made to Dyfed-Powys Police and North Wales Police were last night unavailable.

Of the 1,210 child-sex crime victims in Wales last year, 368 were in the South Wales Police force area, 325 were in North Wales, 270 were in Dyfed-Powys while 247 were in Gwent.

Des Mannion, NSPCC national head of service for Wales, said immediate action was needed to drastically reduce the number of sexual assaults on children which have risen slightly since the previous year - in 2009/10 1,198 crimes were reported.

He said: "A concentrated effort has to be made if we are to start reducing this distressing level of offences, many of which are committed on extremely young and helpless children.

"The Welsh Government has to start treating the situation as seriously as they would if faced with an outbreak of chronic disease. …