The West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner has welcomed an increase in public confidence, shown through the increased reporting of child sexual exploitation.
Through the investments the PCC has made, he has committed to a holistic approach to tackling this issue, providing the resources to prevent and investigate emerging threats, whilst ensuring victims get the help they need.
Figures show that last year 1,786 child sex offences were reported last financial year, with a further 783 reported in the first two quarters of 2017/18*. This shows a 14% rise between the 2015/16 and 2016/17 financial years.
Commissioner John Campion said “Tackling child sexual exploitation remains a top priority for me, and the force. I am committed to ensuring the full weight of the law is brought down on the offenders who perpetrate this horrific crime.
I have formally held the Chief Constable to account several times on this issue, and invested in additional resources to take a proactive approach to prevention and detection- this includes specialist training, further analysis, a focus on tackling emerging threats around cyber crime and my commitment to protecting neighbourhood policing.
It is important to note the scale of this issue nationally but the increase in reporting is reassuring as more victims have the confidence to seek justice. I want to build more of this and help victims access the help they need to cope and recover.
Through grant funding projects, I am putting victims first, and ensuring key workers and sectors can identify the signs of child exploitation.
I will continue to work with partners to ensure a joined up approach, of supporting and protecting vulnerable people to prevent future cases of exploitation.”
Richard Long, Detective Superintendent, Head of Vulnerability and Safeguarding at West Mercia Police said: “The statistics show a rise in the number of reports of sex offences against under-18s in 2016/17 compared to the year before. A fairly similar rise is seen among adults too, so we believe it’s a strong indicator that people of all ages are feeling more empowered and confident than ever before to report such incidents, which include historical sex offences.
“That confidence is likely to be down to many factors including high profile cases in the media, a greater-than-ever number of ways to report sexual crimes, and relentless campaigning done by organisations such as the NSPCC. The police are doing great work to boost that confidence too. Our officers receive thorough, ongoing training to ensure they know how to properly deal with reports of sexual abuse. We also collaborate more and more with partners who support victims of sexual abuse through the investigative process.
“If you suspect a child may be at risk of sexual abuse – or you wish to report a sex offence against a person of any age – please get in touch by phoning the police on 101. Always phone 999 in an emergency.”
The following organisations, which receive grant funding from the PCC, offer support for victims of child sexual exploitation:
Independent Sexual Violence Advisor – the project they’re specifically involved in is around supporting the parents and carers of victims aged 10 and under. The project aims to work with victims of sexual abuse aged 11 and over to assist them to access the services they need in the aftermath of the abuse they have experienced, ensuring that they are aware of all the services available to them to address their needs such as counselling, SARC, housing, sexual health services, and facilitate or support them to access those agencies if required.
For support and information:
- Call 01743 357777 (Shropshire).
- Call 01952 278000 (Telford).
- Visit www.axiscounselling.org.uk.
CSE Team – The support workers work alongside the statutory services (Police, Social Care and Health) dealing with CSE referrals from the Police and Children’s Services.
For support and information:
- Call 01905 724514 (Worcestershire).
- Call 01432 344777 (Herefordshire).
The Department of Education have today launched their ‘Together, we can tackle child abuse campaign’, which will be supported by the PCC on social media. For more information visit https://tacklechildabuse.campaign.gov.uk/.
*The figures for the 2016/17 financial year were today released by the NSPCC. For more detail visit https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-we-do/news-opinion/child-sex-offence-recorded-every-8-minutes/
The 2017/18 figures show 445 offences were reported between April and June 2017, and 388 offences were reported between July and September 2017. These include all recorded offences of abuse by children through sexual exploitation, all recorded rapes and sexual offences on children under 16, and all recorded offences of sexual grooming.
County breakdowns of these figures are available on request. The full set of figures are produced by the Home Office and can be viewed here:
Issued: Tuesday 20th February 2018