Police records show 3 child sex offences committed every hour

Shocking figures from our latest report show sexual offences against children in England Wales are up by more than a third

Figures revealed today, in our How safe are our children? report, show that the number of sexual offences against children recorded by police in England and Wales soared by more than a third last year (2013-14).

A total of 31,238 offences – 85 a day – including rape, sexual assault and grooming, were reported to police. The majority of victims were aged 12 to 16, although more than one in three (8,282) were younger than 11. Among these were 2,895 aged five and under – including 94 babies1.

The number of offences recorded against girls (24,457) was nearly five times higher than that of boys (5,292).

How Safe are our Children? compiles the most robust and up-to-date child protection data that exists across each of the four nations in the UK. Official statistics included in the report show that all four countries in the UK have seen the number of recorded sexual offences against children increase by up to 40 per cent in 2013/14 compared with the previous year.2

"It's time to throw down the gauntlet to government... By the end of the current Parliament there should be no children living in the shadow of abuse"
Peter Wanless / NSPCC CEO

Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO said:
"These figures are disturbing and clearly illustrate child sexual abuse is a continuing and widespread problem that needs urgent action. But we know this is still only a fraction of the true number of victims because some endure an agonising wait of many years before telling anyone – and others never reveal what has happened to them.

"It's time to throw down the gauntlet to government which has to ensure all sexual abuse victims get specialist treatment to help them recover. By the end of this current Parliament there should be no children living in the shadow of abuse."

Peter will argue these concerns today, at the 'How safe are our children?' conference, when he takes the stage for his keynote speech.

Read full keynote speech

It's not clear why the number of offences has risen so dramatically. Greater awareness may be giving more victims the courage to come forward, including those reporting historical cases, or police forces have improved their recording methods. However it does mean that more children are speaking out, only to find little support to help them recover from abuse.

Last year we helped 2,400 young victims through our therapeutic recovery programme, but there are not enough services available across the UK to ensure all children who have experienced abuse get the support they need.


  1. 1. Not all police forces provided age breakdowns, some provided individual ages of victims, others provided broad age ranges. So the figures for ages are a best estimate based on the information provided. Since the NSPCC started collating these figures in 2007-08 the total has never been higher than 23,390.

  2. 2. Breakdown is as follows: England (40 per cent); Wales (12 per cent); Northern Ireland (26 per cent); Scotland (12 per cent). England, Wales and northern Ireland figures are for under 18 year olds, Scotland figures are for under 16 year olds. See How Safe indicator 4 for more detail.