Warwickshire Police have recorded almost double the number of sexual offences against children over the last four years according to data obtained by the NSPCC.
In 2018/19 the police force recorded 698 sexual offences against children in the county compared to 363 in 2014/15.
There were 76,204 recorded offences including rape, grooming and sexual assault against children in the UK in 2018/19 – an average of one every seven minutes.
Analysis of the data also reveals that where age of victim was provided, 16,773 offences were recorded nationally against children aged ten and under, with 341 of the offences against babies under the age of one.
Children who suffered sexual abuse will often need extensive support but overstretched services are failing to keep pace with demand, and the NSPCC is calling for a radical reshaping of how this support is delivered across the country.
A total of 44 out of 45 police forces across the UK provided the NSPCC with the latest data on sexual offences against under 18s after a Freedom of Information request.
Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO, said: “Record numbers of child sexual offences means we are facing a nationwide crisis in the help available for tens of thousands of children.
“These children are bravely disclosing what happened to them but in too many cases there is not enough timely, joined up and child-friendly support. Instead they are shunted from overstretched service to service.
“We need a radical rethink in the way we help these young people, otherwise they could struggle for the rest of their lives with long term, deep seated trauma.”
The charity is calling for the provision of specialised services around the country, with an emphasis on early joined up support from police, local NHS services, children’s services and advocacy for children who have experienced sexual abuse, offered in child-friendly spaces.