NSPCC: We need help to tackle child sex crime

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A TOTAL of 150 children were victims of sex crimes including rape, incest and abuse through prostitution and pornography in Hertfordshire last year, it has been revealed.

The data, released by the NSPCC child protection charity, following a series of freedom of information requests, also revealed that 24 of the victims in Herts had not reached secondary school age, and four were aged five and under.

The victims in the majority of the offences were aged 11 to 17.

The Herts figure is dramatically lower than in some other areas – West Yorkshire recorded 1,170 and neighbouring Essex, 575.

But the figures also show that fewer than one in ten cases results in a conviction.

Det Chief Insp for Protecting Vulnerable People Glen Channor said: “Whilst Hertfordshire has a positive record in responding to cases of sexual abuse against children, agencies are never complacent and continually strive to find more effective ways of working together.

“The impact of such crimes is devastating and very often life-long and as such require our full commitment given the age and vulnerability of the victim.

“The launch of the country’s first joint child protection unit, which combines the expertise of social workers and police officers based together at Police Headquarters, is one such measure in place to respond to these needs. The figures disclosed by the NSPCC serve as a reminder about the importance of this issue.

“The Constabulary know that despite all of the good work that they are doing there is a constant need to find ways of bringing more offenders to justice.”

If adults have concerns about a child they should immediately contact social services, police or call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 where trained counsellors are on call 24 hours a day.

Children can contact ChildLine on 0800 1111.