NSPCC reports 'sharp rise' in sexual abuse calls

Young girl covering her face The NSPCC put the rise in reported cases down to the "Savile effect"

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A children's charity has said it has seen a sharp rise in the number of reported cases of sexual abuse.

The NSPCC said calls to its 24-hour advice line in June and July were nearly twice as high as in 2012.

The organisation put it down to a heightened state of awareness of the problem of child abuse following the Jimmy Savile scandal.

People now seemed to be better equipped and more confident in reporting their concerns, it added.

The NSPCC said more people were using its helpline, 11 months since the allegations against Savile first emerged.

During June and July there were 594 referrals to the NSPCC's call centre compared with 323 at the same time the previous year - an 84% increase.

John Cameron, NSPCC: "Trust your instincts. If you're slightly uncertain about anything, call us"

All of these cases were passed on to police and social services.

The charity put the increase down to a heightened awareness of child sex offences and said the Savile scandal had changed the way the public reacted to abuse.

John Cameron, head of the helpline, said: "The number of calls we took this summer was significantly higher than last year.

"There appears to be a clear shift and the public now seem better equipped and more confident to report their concerns.

"It's very encouraging to see that adults, including those who don't have direct responsibility for children, take action if they think a child is at risk.

"The Savile scandal has shocked the nation but has also increased public awareness of how difficult it is for children to speak out and how crucial it is for adults to report any suspicions or concerns they have straight away."

Mr Cameron also told Radio 4's Today programme in addition to people taking more responsibility, they also had a greater degree of confidence in children's services and the police.

He said 99.9% of calls to the NSPCC were from people with "genuine concerns" and it was "very rare indeed" for people to misuse the service.

Most calls come from neighbours who suspected sexual abuse in their area, he added.

Allegations which surfaced late last year against former BBC DJ Savile over 50 years prompted hundreds of people to come forward with accounts of abuse by him and others.

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