Record level of child sexual abuse calls to NSPCC

22nd November, 2021 3:00 pm

A record number of people contacted the NSPCC with concerns about child sexual abuse, with nearly 5,000 calls made to the charity’s helpline in six months.

A “surge in publicity” about sexual violence facing females has encouraged survivors to speak out, the NSPCC said.

It received 4,735 calls about child sexual abuse or exploitation over the six months to October – up 36% compared with the same period last year.

Experts fear the risk of abuse has risen since the start of the pandemic.

Reports to the NSPCC have also come from victims of sexual abuse that was not recent, with callers saying they had come forward following widespread media coverage of violence against women and girls.

This includes the thousands of testimonies sent to the Everyone’s Invited website about incidents in schools and universities, where people can leave anonymous statements about their experiences.

Kam Thandi, head of the NSPCC helpline, said: “We know people have felt empowered to voice their concerns to our helpline after a surge in publicity about sexual violence towards women and girls and peer-on-peer abuse in schools following the revelations on the Everyone’s Invited website.”

More than 1,500 calls led to a referral to bodies such as the police or local councils for further investigation, according to data seen by the PA news agency.

Calls include reports from people concerned that a child is being groomed, sexual abuse by family members or peer-on-peer sexual harassment or abuse.

The NSPCC fears that the risk of abuse has risen during the coronavirus pandemic.

Helpline calls relating to other concerns have fallen to pre-pandemic levels, the charity said, while concerns about abuse continue to rise.

The charity said that one reason for the rise is the Report Abuse in Education helpline, which was set up in April in collaboration with the Department for Education.

A Department for Education spokesman said the helpline had received 784 contacts as of the end of October.

One caller recalled how an older boy had touched her inappropriately while she was on the coach back from school as a young girl.

She said: “I haven’t spoken to anyone else about this before, but I felt compelled after seeing all the recent news coverage about violence against women.

“If this happened to me, it could have happened to others too. And who knows, this boy (now man) could still be a risk to children.”

Source: BBC.co.uk

Categorised in: