Sex crimes against children reach shocking all-time high

Leading children's charity NSPCC is calling for a radical reshaping of services, particularly early joined-up support services, after revealing thousands of children suffer sexual abuse every year in Scotland. (Photo: Tom Hull)
Leading children's charity NSPCC is calling for a radical reshaping of services, particularly early joined-up support services, after revealing thousands of children suffer sexual abuse every year in Scotland. (Photo: Tom Hull)

A shocking 15 sex crimes were recorded on average every day in Scotland in the last 12 months.

Data obtained by leading children’s charity NSPCC has revealed that recorded sexual offences against children have reached an all-time high.

There were 5325 recorded offences including rape, grooming and sexual assault against children in 2018/19.

Children who suffer sexual abuse will often need extensive support, but the NSPCC says overstretched services are failing to keep pace with demandand the charity is calling for a radical reshaping of how this support is delivered across the country.

Matt Forde, Head of NSPCC Scotland, said: “Record numbers of child sexual offences means we are facing a nationwide crisis in the help available for thousands of children.

“These children are bravely disclosing what happened to them but in too many cases there is not enough timely, joined up and child-friendly support.

“Instead they are shunted from overstretched service to service.

“We need a radical rethink in the way we help these young people, otherwise they could struggle for the rest of their lives with long term, deep seated trauma.”

The charity is calling for the provision of specialised services around the country, with an emphasis on early joined up support from police, NHS services, children’s services and advocacy for children who have experienced sexual abuse, offered in child-friendly spaces.