Two children a day are sexually abused in Cambridgeshire, according to a charity
- Credit: Archant
Two sex crimes against young people are recorded every day in Cambridgeshire, including eight babies under the age of one in the last year.
A third of those crimes were committed on children under 10 years old.
The figures were obtained by the NSPCC, who say recorded child sex offences across the UK are at an all-time high.
It has prompted a call for increased support and training for police to help tackle the problem.
Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said: “This dramatic rise is extremely concerning and shows just how extensive child sexual abuse is.
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“These abhorrent crimes can shatter a child’s life, leaving them to feel humiliated, depressed, or even suicidal.
“That is why it is crucial every single child who has endured abuse and needs support must get timely, thorough help so they can learn to rebuild their lives.
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“These new figures suggest the police are making real progress in how they investigate sex offences against children.
“To help them tackle the issue going forward, we must ensure the police are equipped to work with other agencies and provide ongoing support and training to officers on the front line.”
The number of child sex offences recorded by Cambridgeshire Police rose to 746 last year compared to 608 the year before.
New figures obtained via a Freedom of Information request to police across the UK found officers recorded crimes including rape, sexual assault and grooming.
A total of 262 crimes were recorded against children aged ten and under, while 65 of these crimes were perpetrated against children aged four and under.
Nationally there were a record 64,667 child sex offences recorded by UK police in 2016/17, up 15 per cent on the previous year, with an offence recorded on average every eight minutes.
One in ten of these offences were flagged as having an online element – a 59 per cent increase on the previous year.
The total number of sex offences committed against children is unknown, as more children may not have come forward out of fear or embarrassment, or may not even realise they have been abused.
The NSPCC is calling for government to direct more resources to ensure high-quality training and support is available to frontline police officers to help raise awareness of safeguarding procedures and tackle child sex offences, especially online.