Sex Crimes against Children Rise 10pc; NSPCC Calls on Friends and Family to Report Fears

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Byline: Jim Norton

THE number of child victims of rape, voyeurism and other sexual crimes soared to a record high in Scotland last year.

Figures reveal police officers investigated 10 per cent more sexual offences against children under 15 than in 2011. Yesterday, NSPCC Scotland revealed it had received a staggering increase in calls from adults concerned about a child.

Such calls to the child protection charity rose by nearly a third last year, with a large proportion deemed serious enough to involve the authorities.

The child sex offence statistics were the highest in Scotland since 2011, up from 1,665 offences in 2011 to at least 1,832 in 2013.

The figure for 2013 was only until November, so it is possible there could have been more.

Scottish Conservatives chief whip John Lamont said: 'Any rise in this type of statistic is worrying.

But it's important we recog-nise that more people are breaking their silence on this matter, and that may well contribute to the increase.

'In order to stop this lurid behaviour, and provide some comfort for victims, we have to make sure those guilty are sentenced in the most severe way.' The figures, obtained under a freedom of information request, have increased every year since 2011.

Fife saw the largest increase in sexual offences against under-15s, with a rise from 155 in 2011 to 290 in 2013.

Aberdeenshire and Moray saw the biggest reduction, from 201 in 2011 to 128 in 2013.

NSPCC Scotland reported that around 60 per cent of the near 2,000 calls it received last year were deemed serious enough for the police or social services to intervene.

Half the callers who rang the charity in 2012-13 waited more than a month to say anything and a quarter waited more than six months. …