Wales

Six child sex offences reported every day, figures show

Child in a park Image copyright Thinkstock

There are six child sex offence allegations reported to police every day on average, NSPCC Cymru has said.

Welsh forces revealed there were 2,238 complaints made in 2015-16 - a 33% rise on the year before.

In the Dyfed-Powys area, allegations rose by 107% from 328 to 679 but in Gwent they dropped from 706 to 389.

NSPCC Cymru gained the figures through Freedom of Information Act requests and called for investment in early recovery services for abused children.

Head of the charity, Des Mannion, said: "Sexual abuse can shatter a child's life and without help have lifelong impacts.

"Victims need help to speak out and support to help them recover from their ordeals and go on to lead full and happy lives."

The figures represent a 33% increase on 2014-15 when 1,752 were recorded, with the figure rising from 398 to 584 in north Wales and from 637 to 753 in south Wales.

Of those reported in the past year, 643 were relating to children under ten and at least 185 were aged four and under.

Mr Mannion also pointed to the "increasing prevalence of online offending" and called on public sector bodies to help formulate an action plan against it.

South Wales Police has highlighted the challenges faced with chat rooms and different apps - pointing to how children at home in their bedrooms are at risk of being targeted.

It launched Operation Net Safe in November 2016, with police and crime commissioner Alun Michael saying it is to "protect the most vulnerable in our communities".

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