‘450,000 UK child abuse cases in 2yrs’ – report

© Jorge Lopez
As many as 450,000 children are thought to have been abused in England in the two years up to March 2014, according to a major new report.

Some 50,000 cases of sexual abuse were recorded by police and local authorities during this period, but the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC) believes this is a major underestimate.

A study by the OCC found that around 85 percent of sexually abused young people are not receiving help and treatment.

In cases where children are found abusing other children, the report blamed easy access to the internet for creating a generation who are imitating what they see online.

Police spokesperson for child protection and abuse Simon Bailey said children believe the abuse is normal behavior.

I have had cases whereby 12, 13-year-old boys are abusing four, five-year-old girls because what they have seen online they just thought was normal behavior,” said Bailey.

The scale of abuse identified within the OCC report is horrific and it confirms my belief that the police service has been dealing with the tip of the iceberg,” he added.

The report, titled ‘Protecting children from harm: A critical assessment of child sexual abuse in the family network in England and priorities for action,’ said that most abuse cases involve relatives.

Two thirds of sexual abuse cases, both known and unknown to the authorities, are believed to be perpetrated by family members.

The report’s authors called for urgent action to identify and prevent child abuse in England.

Most victims remain unidentified because police and social services rely on children to speak out about what they are suffering.

One suggestion in the report is to give children as young as five lessons at school to teach them about relationships and encourage them to discuss concerns.

Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield said preventing abuse is a top priority.

In recent years the terrible experiences of sexual abuse that some children have suffered in institutions or at the hands of groups of perpetrators have come to light, and preventing and tackling these been made a priority,” she said.

Longfield said it is necessary to urgently address child sexual abuse within families and trusted circles.