West Midlands Police are recording almost four child sex crimes a day after a dramatic spike in reports of abuse across the country, new figures reveal today (June 17).
The force recorded a total of 1,366 allegations of sexual offences against children, including rape and assault, in 2013/14, research by the NSPCC has found.
West Mercia officers recorded 749 such offences; Warwickshire had 129; and in Staffordshire there were 963.
Last week the Birmingham Mail revealed that a baby aged just six months was the West Midland’s youngest victim of child sexual exploitation – being violently attacked for its parents’ own sick gratification.
The horrific case was highlighted by Karen Bradley – minister for preventing abuse and exploitation – as she revealed the shocking scale of child trafficking and sex attacks in the region.
Today’s research by the NSPCC found that a total of 31,238 allegations of sexual offences against children were made to forces in England and Wales in 2013/14.
This was an increase of more than a third compared to the previous year.
The majority of the victims were aged between 12 and 16 but more than one in four – 8,282 – were younger than 11, the charity said.
Of those, 2,895 are estimated to be aged five or under, including 94 babies.
More than three quarters of the reported abuse cases were against girls (24,457).
The Metropolitan Police, recorded the highest number of sex crimes against children, with 3,523.
The data, obtained through Freedom of Information requests made by the children’s charity, reveals a significant year-on-year increase in the number of sex offences against children.
In 2012-13, the same research showed that a total of 22,654 were recorded by 41 police forces. All 43 forces in England and Wales responded in the latest study.
The NSPCC said that until now the total had largely remained steady and the 38 per cent rise was the biggest increase in six years of requesting the figures.
Since 2008/09, the number has increased by almost 50 per cent.
Peter Wanless, the charity’s chief executive, said: “These figures are disturbing and clearly illustrate child sexual abuse is a continuing and widespread problem that needs urgent action.
“But we know this is still only a fraction of the true number of victims because some endure an agonising wait of many years before telling anyone – and others never reveal what has happened to them.
“It’s time to throw down the gauntlet to government which has to ensure all sexual abuse victims get specialist treatment to help them recover. “By the end of this current Parliament there should be no children living in the shadow of abuse.”
The statistics are the latest in a slew of recent findings indicating a spike in the number of abuse cases being reported and follow a trend that started in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal in 2012.
Analysts have suggested that publicity surrounding high profile cases has increased awareness and in turn given more victims the courage to come forward. Improved recording methods by police has also been cited as a possible factor.
A wide-ranging independent inquiry, headed up by New Zealand Justice Lowell Goddard, has been established by the Home Secretary Theresa May to probe allegations of historical child sex abuse and a Westminster paedophile ring.
Last month it emerged that police are investigating more than 1,400 prominent men, including politicians, celebrities and those linked to institutions, for historic child sex abuse.