THE number of Notts children claiming to be victims of sexual abuse has soared in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal and other high-profile cases.
Between April 2012 and April 2013, 48 children made allegations of sexual abuse against people in positions of trust, such as teachers and doctors.
This compares to just seven making such claims the year before.
Overall, 488 children reported incidents of abuse in Notts – up from 408 in the same period the previous year.
Experts say the figures show more people are willing to come forward as a result of high-profile cases such as Jimmy Savile, Stuart Hall and Essex teacher Jeremy Forest, who was jailed on Friday after admitting five counts of sexual activity with a child.
Jon Brown, head of sexual abuse services with children’s charity the NSPCC, said: “The increase does seems to be due to increased awareness of sexual abuse generally as a result of stories in the media in recent months such as Jeremy Forrest, Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall.
“All of those cases have increased the focus on child abuse and recognition that there’s a real need to address it in terms of prevention and the consequences.
“There’s also a decreased tolerance for what many people have previously seen as a grey area, where a victim was apparently consenting and saying they loved the person.
“There is now greater clarity that this is an abusive relationship and needs to be dealt with.”
Jeremy Forrest, 30, prompted an international police hunt after he and a 15-year-old girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, spent just over a week on the run in France last September.
He was sentenced to five-and-a-half-years in jail.
Meanwhile drama teacher Russell Singleton, 57, of Heanor, was jailed for 38 months at Nottingham Crown Court in April after admitting using a two-way mirror to secretly film pupils shower and go to the toilet.
He also formed a relationship with a 16-year-old girl behind the back of his wife of 31 years.
Notts Police hope the continued publicity about child sex offences will show victims that complaints are taken seriously and will be fully investigated.
Superintendent Helen Chamberlain said: “There has been a lot of national publicity relating to child sex offences with the Jimmy Savile case and other high-profile people being convicted, which may have encouraged others to report what has happened to them.
“I hope that, in Notts, more people have the confidence to come forward and tell the police.”
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