Police figures lift lid on child sex abuse in South Wales

Published August 1, 2013 by JS2

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More than 10 children are sexually abused in South Wales every week, according to alarming new figures disclosed by South Wales Police

The data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that 1,072 incidents of sexual abuse affecting children were investigated by police between April 2011 and March 2013.

The figures suggest that over the past two years an average of 300 children under the age of 18 have fallen victim to sexual offences every month.

A spokeswoman for children’s charity Barnardo’s Cymru said: “Sexual abuse of children is not a rare occurrence. It happens at all social levels, in all parts of the country, in all races and cultures. But despite increased public awareness, the true extent of child sexual abuse remains hidden.”

According to the charity, one in 10 children across the UK will experience some degree of sexual abuse, causing long-term emotional and psychological damage.

She added: “Children who have been abused suffer feelings of guilt and shame, which can dramatically affect their lives as adults. They may experience long-term emotional and psychological problems, and difficulties in forming relationships later in life.”

South Wales Police was unable to provide information on the age and gender of the victims or confirm how many of the incidents ended in a conviction, but according to Barnardo’s, most abusers are family members or well-known to their victims, with less than 10% of children being abused by strangers. Studies of adult abusers have revealed that a single offender may commit as many as 380 crimes.

According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) earlier this month, reported sex offences in South Wales have increased by a fifth as more victims come forward to report historic sex attacks in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

The police recorded crime figures showed South Wales Police had seen a 22% rise in the number of victims coming forward.

Peter Saunders of The National Association for People Abused in Childhood said: “Society is really starting to understand something about the nature of the crime and the devastating consequences it can have of the victims.

“It is not just like having your bag stolen, it is something that gets to the very core of your being and causes a lifetime of destruction.

“The earlier young people speak out, the more help they can get and the more chance we stand of catching the perpetrators.”

Detective Chief Inspector Sue Hurley said:  “South Wales Police treats all offences of physical and sexual abuse against children very seriously and we work closely with our partners to ensure that we can robustly investigate offences with the minimum of trauma to the child victims and bringing perpetrators to justice.”

 

Wales Online

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