The Guardian today reports on figures released by the Office for National Statistics following the release of a survey carried out in 2016.
For women the figure is even more shocking with more than 1 in 10 reporting that they had suffered sexual abuse as a child. In some cases this involved the most severe abuse with a suggestion that 567,000 women aged between 16 and 59 had suffered sexual assault by rape or penetration whilst a child. In more than 50% of these cases the attacker was likely to be a friend or family member.
The most worrying statistic is that 3 out of 4 victims failed to report what happened due to embarrassment or humiliation or thinking that the victim would not be believed.
The figures also showed a high proportion of adults who reported psychological and physical abuse during childhood with 8% saying they had witnessed domestic violence or abuse within the home environment.
In recent years historic abuse has been in the headlines on a daily basis. This is likely to continue over the ten year duration of the Goddard Inquiry. As abuse becomes more widely reported victims are finding it easier to come forward and talk about their own experiences.
Within the specialist abuse claims department at Farleys we have seen a dramatic increase in the volume of new work over the last two years. Whilst these figures are shocking they do not necessarily reveal any increase in the incidences of abuse but are possibly more indicative of an increased willingness within the population to share information about childhood abuse.
The most worrying statistic remains the failure of 3 in every 4 victims to report what has happened and we must continue to do our best to help victims come forward. I regularly speak to victims who have failed to report childhood abuse until much later in life and the emotional upset they suffer as a result of the abuse is often compounded by their guilt at having not reported the offender only to discover in later life that he has gone on to abuse many others. The sooner these crimes are reported the sooner the perpetrators can be placed behind bars and prevented from damaging the lives of others.
At Farleys we have a specialist team of lawyers experienced in speaking to abuse victims and we hope that we do make the process easier for the victims who have the strength to report these crimes. If you would like to speak to a member of our specialist team please call 0845 287 0939 or complete an online enquiry form.
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