More than 750 child sexual abuse crimes recorded in Cambridgeshire as cases rise by a third in two years
In a shocking new statistic, it has been revealed that more than 750 child sexual abuse crimes have been recorded in Cambridgeshire, in the last year.
According to Office for National Statistics data Cambridgeshire Constabulary recorded 780 child sexual abuse crimes in 2019-20.
Of the total, 214 were cases of sexual exploitation against children.
Child sexual exploitation is a form of sexual abuse where a child is coerced into sexual activity. It does not always involve physical contact and may occur through the use of technology.
The children’s charity NSPCC says while the Government’s recent Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy puts the emphasis on early intervention, it must be backed up with action and funding.
The number of child sexual abuse crimes in Cambridgeshire chillingly increased by a third (32 per cent) compared to two years earlier, when 589 cases were recorded - more than double the national average figure. Exploitation offences went up – in 2017-18 there were 167 cases recorded by the force, a 28 per cent increase.
Across England and Wales, 61,800 child sexual abuse crimes were recorded in 2019-20 – 12 per cent more than in 2017-18.
The number of child sexual exploitation crimes fell by 16 per cent across the period, with 12,600 cases recorded by the end of March.
The ONS cautions that the figures are experimental and variations between years could reflect changes in recording rather than changes in the number of offences.
Anna Edmundson, head of policy at the NSPCC, said: “Behind these figures are thousands of children and young people who have suffered sexual abuse which can have a devastating impact on their lives.
“We know the risks of young people experiencing certain types of sexual abuse, particularly within the home and online, have increased since the pandemic began while access to support has been severely reduced.
“The Government’s Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy is an important first step in protecting and supporting children.”
She added that the Government should also invest in a multi-agency model of care for child sexual abuse, known as the Child House approach.
A Home Office spokesman said: “Child sexual abuse is a sickening crime that can devastate lives.
“The publication of the Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy builds on the Government’s commitment to ensuring there are no safe spaces online or offline for offenders to abuse and exploit vulnerable children.
“It will ensure offenders of these horrific crimes are swiftly brought to justice.
“This includes equipping police with enhanced powers and tools, including investing in the UK’s world-leading Child Abuse Image Database, introducing the ground-breaking Online Safety Bill and GCHQ collaborating with the technology industry to identify and develop solutions to crack down on large-scale online child sexual abuse.”