Reports of non-recent sexual offences against children in Warwickshire have risen five-fold in four years, according to data obtained by the NSPCC.
Warwickshire Police recorded 797 non-recent sexual offences against under-18s over four years, with 66 in 2013/14, 168 in 2014/15, 230 in 2015/16 and 333 in 2016/17.
Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said: “Although these rising figures paint a worrying picture of widespread abuse, it is encouraging that so many are finally finding their voice in a climate today where they know they will be listened to and supported.”
The term ‘non-recent’ is used to describe a sexual offence which took place a year or more before the time of reporting.
The NSPCC believes the steep rise of reports may, in part, be down to high-profile abuse cases as well as the football abuse scandal which began a year ago and has seen a dedicated NSPCC helpline receive more than 2,500 calls.
The charity hopes the increase in cases recorded by police will reassure survivors they will be listened to.
Across the UK police have seen reports of non-recent sexual offences, double since 2013/14.
Mr Wanless said: “It doesn’t matter whether the sexual abuse happened a year ago or 50 years ago, it is never too late to report it.
“It’s clear that for far too long, many people who suffered horrendously as children felt they could not speak up, were not believed or did not know who to turn to. What’s important now is survivors of abuse receive the support they need.”
Any adult who is the victim of non-recent abuse is urged to report it to the police or contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 for advice and support.
Children can contact Childline on 0800 1111.