Increase in sexual offences against children in Dorset

Increase in sexual offences against children in Dorset

Published by Maria Greenwood at 8:29am 24th October 2019. (Updated at 9:23am 24th October 2019)

Sexual crimes against children in Dorset have more than doubled in 5 years

During the 12 months to April more than 750 offences were committed against under 16's.

Dorset Police say the rise is partly down to the way offences are recorded.

The NSPCC is calling for a more joined up and child-friendly approach for youngsters courageous enough to speak up.

Detective Superintendent Gemma Morris, of Dorset Police, said:

"The increase in reports is in line with the national rise of offences with this nature and we believe it is due to a number of factors including changes to the way we record the information.
"There has also been an increase in confidence in victims reporting such crimes to police, including non-recent sexual offences.

"High profile national investigations continue to raise awareness in sexual offences against children.

768 sex crimes against children were recorded in the 12 months to April.

"The Force has continued to strengthen its response and resource capability to deal with sexual offences against children, with more officers in dedicated teams such as in Child Sexual Exploitation, Child Abuse Investigation Team and Paedophile Online Investigation Team.

Officers and staff receive specific training to ensure an awareness and understanding of these often complex crimes, which affect some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

"Dorset Police also supports multi-agency efforts toward education and awareness campaigns, encouraging victims and anyone with information about those types of offences to come forward and access support."

Across the South West there were 5,500 sexual offences recorded by police forces in 2018/19

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.

768 sex crimes against children were recorded in the 12 months to April.

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."