Babies aged one and under were among victims of sex crimes in Northamptonshire last year

A new NSPCC report has revealed the shocking extent of sex crimes against children in the county.
A new NSPCC report has revealed the shocking extent of sex crimes against children in the county.

Two sex crimes were recorded against children in Northamptonshire every day last year a new study has found.

Children's charity The NSPCC is now calling for police to be given more training to tackle child sex offences, after reports of such crimes hit an all-time high.

The number of child sex offences recorded by Northamptonshire Police rose to 889 last year the NSPCC has revealed.

The number of offences recorded in 2016/17 increased from 868 offences recorded the previous year.

New figures obtained via a Freedom of Information request to police across the UK found officers recorded crimes including rape, sexual assault and grooming – with seven offences recorded against babies aged under one in Northamptonshire.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, 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.”

A total of 316 crimes were recorded against children aged ten and under, while 87 were committed against children aged four and under.

Nationally there were a record 64,667 child sex offences recorded by UK police in 2016/17, up 15 per cent on the previous year with an offence recorded on average every eight minutes.

One in ten of these offences were flagged as having an online element – a 59 per cent increase on the previous year.

The total number of sex offences committed against children is unknown, as more children may not have come forward out of fear or embarrassment, or may not even realise they have been abused.

The NSPCC is now calling for government to direct more resources to ensure high-quality training and support is available to frontline police officers to help raise awareness of safeguarding procedures and tackle child sex offences, especially online.