More than 70 girls A DAY are referred to social services over fears of sexual abuse

27th September, 2021 8:37 am

More than 70 young girls suspected of being the victims of sexual abuse are referred to social services every day, official figures reveal.

Almost 27,000 girls aged under 18 in England were either the victims of sexual abuse or at risk of being exploited in 2019-20, according to statistics released by the Department for Education.

Analysis by The Mail on Sunday shows the highest rate was in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, where one in every 736 residents was referred.

Four members of the child sex grooming gang from Rochdale in which one of Britain’s worst child sex scandals took place

Rotherham, in South Yorkshire, where one of Britain’s worst child sex abuse scandals saw an estimated 1,400 children exploited between 1997 and 2013, has a rate of one in every 757 residents. Stoke has a rate of one in 778. Plymouth, Blackburn and Blackpool also have high levels.

The shocking figures, revealed in answer to a parliamentary question from Labour MP Anna McMorrin, show that areas with higher levels of deprivation have the most acute problems with child sex abuse.

Maggie Oliver, a former police officer who exposed the child abuse scandal in Rochdale in 2012 that was the subject of the acclaimed BBC drama Three Girls, said: ‘If anything, the problem’s got worse.

‘Rape has almost been decriminalised. Just 1.6 per cent of all reported rapes lead to a charge, so 98 in every 100 girls or women who reported doesn’t go to a charge.’

Ms Oliver, who now runs an organisation that supports child sex abuse victims, added: ‘Sixty per cent of the survivors who have come to us in the last three months have been let down by the police, and 16 per cent were threatened with arrest themselves.

‘It’s easier to criminalise a child than to investigate a sophisticated gang of paedophiles.’

Maggie Oliver, a former police officer who exposed the child abuse scandal in Rochdale in 2012 that was the subject of the acclaimed BBC drama Three Girls, said: ‘If anything, the problem’s got worse’

The number of ‘serious safeguarding referrals’ of girls aged under 18 rose from 214,420 in 2018 to 227,910 last year. The cost of child social services across 151 local authorities in England was £7.9 billion in 2017-18.

Anntoinette Bramble, chairwoman of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, called on the Government to increase funding.

‘Child sexual abuse, including child sexual exploitation, is a terrible crime,’ she said. ‘To make sure children and young people get the support and protection they need, it is vital that services are properly funded.’

Last night, a DfE spokesman said: ‘Every child should feel safe and protected, which is why we are investing in the frontline charities directly supporting vulnerable children and providing billions more to councils to help them respond to changing pressures, including for children’s services.’

Figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales show 7.5 per cent of adults aged 18 to 74 suffered sexual abuse before 16, with the majority not telling anyone about their ordeal.

 

Source: The Daily Mail

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