'Child sexual abuse referrals have soared by nearly a third in the past year, the UK’s leading children’s charity has revealed.
The NSPCC said it is making on average 90 referrals to police and children’s services each week from members of the public reporting concerns that a child is being sexually abused.
The charity’s free and confidential helpline referred 4,677 calls and emails to local agencies in 2016/17 – an increase of 31 per cent on the previous year. There were also a further 3,912 contacts where helpline staff gave advice about sexual abuse against young people.
Campaigners and politicians said it was “deeply worrying” that so many children were potentially being exposed to sexual abuse, and warned that while there is optimism in the fact that the society is now more alert to the crime, many victims are still being “let down by the system”.
An estimated one in 20 children aged between 11 and 17 in the UK have experienced sexual abuse, according to previous research by the NSPCC. Child sexual abuse is defined by a child being forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities – either through physical contact or online.'
Read more: Child sex abuse referrals soar by nearly a third in a year, warns NSPCC
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