Thousands of sexual offences against young children recorded by police

Figures highlight the importance of our Talk PANTS campaign and equipping parents to talk to young children about how to stay safe from sexual abuse

Young female child sat in her bedroomA Freedom of Information request to police forces in England, Northern Ireland and Wales show there were at least 7,618 recorded sexual offences against children aged 4 to 8 in 2018/191.

During the same period, hundreds of children under the age of 11 living across the UK contacted Childline about sexual abuse2.

Our Talk PANTS campaign is a simple way to teach children how to stay safe from abuse and helps them learn without using any scary words.

We're encouraging parents and carers to donate today and get a PANTS activity pack, to not only help keep the children in their life safe – but also help protect a generation of children from abuse. 


Donna-Marie's story

Photograph of Donna-Marie WrightDonna-Marie Wright is a passionate supporter of our Talk PANTS campaign.

"I think Talk PANTS is brilliant. Having been abused myself between the ages of 7 and 18, I believe it's essential that all parents talk to their children about staying safe from sexual abuse.

"Many parents may worry that talking to their children about this sensitive subject will be scary and confusing but the PANTS activities help you find the right words. There is no mention of sex or abuse and when I've used them with my own young children, I've found the resources to be incredibly useful."

Peter Wanless

Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, said:
"It is very concerning that the number of recorded sexual offences against young children is at such a high level and it is vital we do more to help them stay safe from sexual abuse.

"That is why Talk PANTS is such an important tool for parents as it enables them to have vital conversations with their child in an age appropriate way."


  1. 1. The NSPCC sent police forces across England and Wales a Freedom of Information request in March 2019 asking for the number of sexual offences against children aged under 18 between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019. The same information was supplied on request by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

    The total number of recorded sexual offences against children aged four to eight in England, Wales and Northern Ireland was 7,618.

    14 out of the 44 forces were unable to provide the recorded sexual offences against children aged four to eight.

    Not all police forces provided age breakdowns, some provided individual ages of victims, others provided broad age ranges, and some forces provided details of the offences.

  2. 2. In 2018/19, Childline delivered 541 counselling sessions to children aged 11 and under whose main concern was sexual abuse.