The NSPCC has released figures showing an alarming number of child sex abuse crimes in England and Wales.
The research undertaken by the NSPCC uses data from Police forces in England and Wales on the instances of reported child abuse crimes and reports over 23,000 offences occurred in 2009 – 2010. This equates to 64 cases per day, and represents an 8% increase of the number of cases reported in 2008 – 2009.
The figures also revealed that girls were six times more likely to be assaulted that boys, and that more than half of the victims were aged between 12 and 15, with 25% being aged five to 11.
A quarter of abusers were also found to be under the age of 18.
What is especially concerning is that the figures released only represent the cases that have been reported to the Police. The very nature of child abuse, which often involves psychological manipulation, means that instances of abuse often go unreported, with victims being either too young or too scared to ask for help.
As solicitors specialising in child abuse claims, we regularly help clients who have been the victims of abuse in their childhood. The long term psychological damage caused by child abuse can be extremely severe, preventing victims from fulfilling their potential in both career and relationship development.
What is clear from these figures is that despite having a higher profile in the public domain over recent years, following the tragic case of baby P and others, child abuse is still on the increase. Whilst it is hoped that the offenders in these cases are dealt with appropriately, the same cannot be said for the potentially vast number of unreported cases, where the victims are left to suffer in silence.
We are often contacted by such victims, now well into their adult lives, who are still haunted by the abuse they suffered and feel that while they have been psychologically damaged for life, their abusers have been able to get off scott free.
Whilst pursuing a compensation claim against their former abuser cannot turn back time or reverse the damage that has been done, the clients we have helped often comment that they experience a sense of closure, and at least feel that their abuser has been held to account in some way.