Laura Sharman 24 November 2015

Thousands of child sexual abuse cases not detected

Thousands of child sexual abuse cases not detected image

Only one in eight cases of child sexual abuse are being detected by professionals, according to a new report published by the Children’s Commissioner.

The report, Protecting children from harm, found that while local authorities and the police recorded 50,000 cases of sexual abuse over two years to March 2014, estimates suggest 450,000 children were abused over the same time period.

The report warns that social services tend to rely to children reporting the abuse themselves, even though many children do not report abuse or even recognise they have been abused until they are much older.

Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, is calling for urgent action to improve the prevention and early identification of child sexual abuse.

Ms Longfield said: ‘Our research suggests that many victims suffer in silence, unknown to those who could protect or help them to overcome their experiences. This is often because the services we provide rely on children coming forward and telling someone that they have been abused, which they rarely do.

‘This could be for a number of reasons – they may feel intimidated, scared of causing trouble for their family, or simply not have the words to express what has happened to them.’

The report calls for a new strategy for the prevention of child sexual abuse and for the statutory responsibilities of organisations and professionals working with children to be strengthened.

Ms Longfield added: ‘The starting point for this report is not about professional failure, but it is about doing things differently. A system which waits for children to tell someone cannot be effective. It is clear that professionals working with children and the systems they work within must be better equipped to identify and act on the signs and symptoms of abuse.’

In response, the Local Government Association (LGA) said councils have been leading the way in tackling child sexual abuse, and this commitment should be matched by the Government.

Cllr Roy Perry, chairman of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: ‘The number of cases reported to councils has increased significantly in recent years, suggesting that more abuse is being identified and more children are now receiving help. While this is encouraging, we also need to be sure that victims are able to access the support they need once abuse is identified.

‘Councils are now supporting over 20,000 more children on child protection plans than seven years ago, and it is vital that councils and partner agencies have the resources they need to deal with this huge increase in demand.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Head of HR/OD

Babergh & Mid Suffolk
£60,000 circa
The role will involve working closely with the Senior Leadership Team and Chief Executive to lead our People Strategy and... Ipswich, Suffolk
Recuriter: Babergh & Mid Suffolk

Customer Services Assistant (Libraries)

Essex County Council
Up to £9469 per annum
Please note this is part time position (18.5 hours a week) across Uttlesford, mainly based in Dunmow and Stansted and is to be offered on an initial 6 England, Essex, Dunmow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Customer Services Assistant (Libraries)

Essex County Council
Up to £18938 per annum
Please note this position is to be offered on an initial 6 month , fixed term basis. Do you enjoy working with people? Enthusiastic about playing a ke England, Essex, Saffron Walden
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Customer Services Assistant - Mark Hall Library

Essex County Council
£17000 - £18950 per annum
Please note that this position is a part time role, offering 18.5 hours per week and is offered on a Fixed Term Basis for a period of 6 months. England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Practitioner - Family Support & Protection

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Please note this is a fixed term contract or secondment opportunity until December 2020 In Essex County Council we are "Serious about Social Work". H England, Essex, Basildon
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores what impact the increase to the Public Works Loan Board rate have on councils’ capital schemes and why adopting AI will not just improve customer service response times for councils.

This issue also finds out how local government pension funds are backing infrastructure projects and calls on local government to get better value from its technology spend.

Register for your free magazine