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NSPCC concern at Kent Police child sex crime statistics

An average of six child sex offences are recorded in Kent every day, fresh data has revealed.

The figures show 2,202 alleged crimes were recorded against children and young people in 2016/17.

That number is up 40% from 1,571 reports in 2015/16.

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The NSPCC is calling for increased training for police to tackle child sex offences
The NSPCC is calling for increased training for police to tackle child sex offences

We also now know 361 alleged offences had an online element in 2016/17.

The statistics were revealed by Kent Police after a Freedom of Information request from children’s charity the NSPCC.

The head of the charity says the spike in reports is concerning and has called for officers to work closer with support services.

NSPCC chief executive, Peter Wanless, said: “This dramatic rise is extremely concerning and shows just how extensive child sexual abuse is.

“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.

“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.”

Across the UK there were 64,667 offences recorded, an increase of 15%.

Detective Chief Inspector Lee Whitehead, of Kent Police, said: "Tackling child abuse and keeping children and young people safe is one of Kent Police's most important priorities.

"As a force, we work closely with the NSPCC, local authorities and other partner agencies to safeguard those who are vulnerable to sexual abuse and protect them from harm.

"In recent years there have been a number of high-profile national investigations which we believe have given young people the confidence to speak up about the crimes committed against them.

"This greater awareness and confidence to report has contributed to the increases in the number of reports to police.

"We have dedicated a significant amount of resources to help keep children safe online and have specialist units who proactively target offenders who are looking to abuse children.

"We also invest in educational programmes to teach children and young people about online risks.

"Everyone has a responsibility to protect children and young people from those seeking to do them harm, it is important that members of the public contact us if they believe someone is at risk.

"Together we can tackle and stop abuse to ensure our communities are a safe place for children to live, be happy, thrive and reach their full potential."

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