Police have investigated over 1,400 suspects over allegations of child sexual abuse including hundreds linked to schools, children’s homes and community centres.
The figures were released under Operation Hydrant, the body established by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) to assess allegations of historic child sexual abuse within institutions or by people of public prominence.
Of the 1,433 suspects identified, 666 are related to institutions and 76 are listed as politicians of both a local and national level. Some 216 are deceased.
A total of 357 separate institutions have been identified by the investigation, including 154 schools, 75 children’s homes, 40 religious institutions and 11 community-based organisations.
Chief constable Simon Bailey described the figures as ‘stark’ evidence of the scale of abuse police are currently dealing with.
Further data has shown the number of child sexual abuse cases identified to police has risen by 71% between 2012 and 2015.
Bailey said: ‘Police have done a huge amount to meet the challenge: we have responded to criticism, changed how we engage with victims and how we investigate abuse. Many victims have now found confidence to report abuse, knowing we will treat them sensitively, respectfully, listen to them and take reports of their abuse seriously. I would encourage all victims of sexual abuse to come forward and report their abuse.
‘We face a massive challenge, in terms of resources, time and expertise, to balance offering routes to justice for those who suffered in the past while safeguarding and protecting children in a vulnerable position now.
‘We cannot measure protecting children and the vulnerable by the number of arrests and prosecutions, the issue is much more complex. Everyone, teachers, GPs, parents and other adults have a responsibility to spot the signs of abuse and act.’