'It's never too late to report abuse' says NSPCC
PUBLISHED: 14:58 02 December 2017
High-profile cases involving celebrities and football coaches have helped encourage other victims of long-ago sexual abuse to come forward, the NSPCC has revealed.
The children’s charity says the number of historic abuse allegations recorded by police has almost doubled over the past four years.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary alone has logged 1,526 of these crimes during that period, while the past 12 months alone has seen its officers investigate 342 allegations of historic abuse.
This sits against a national rise from 10,493 such crimes being reported in 2013-14 to 20,410 in 2016 – and experts at the NSPCC think media coverage of high-profile scandals has helped give other victims the strength to report their abusers.
NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: “It doesn’t matter whether the sexual abuse happened a year ago or 50 years ago, it is never too late to report it.
“It’s clear that for far too long, many people who suffered horrendously as children felt they could not speak up, were not believed or did not know who to turn to.
“Although these rising figures paint a worrying picture of widespread abuse, it is encouraging so many are finally finding their voice.
“What’s important now is survivors of abuse receive the support they need and the people who carried out these vile offences are identified and finally brought to justice.”
A dedicated NSPCC helpline launched a year ago has received more than 2,500 calls from abuse victims, and the charity hopes others will now find the strength to speak out.
One person who did is 47-year-old Maria, who was sexually abused and raped by her father at a very young age and still feels the effects of the abuse now.
She said: “I have had breakdowns, have depressive episodes and I’ve attempted suicide as an adult.
“But I am determined and I’ve got dreams and ambitions. I’m strong. I went to the police to report my father when I was 25 and the conviction has helped me recover.”
Any adult who is the victim of non-recent abuse is urged to report it to police or contact the NSPCC helpline on 08088 005000 for support.