Huge rise in sex offences against children in Cleveland Police area

DCI Anne-Marie Salwey.
DCI Anne-Marie Salwey.

Child sexual offences across the UK are on the rise according to a new report from charity the NSPCC.

The latest statistics found that in Cleveland in 2014/15 there were 247 offences recorded and in 2015/16 there were 820 offences - an increase of 573.

In that period there were 55 cyber offences.

In 2015/16 a total of 270 crimes were recorded against children aged ten and under, while 68 of these crimes were against children four and under.

Such crimes against children included rape, sexual assault, and sexual exploitation.

The report found recorded child sex offences across UK police at all-time high, with the national figure soaring by nearly a fifth to 55,507 crimes against children and young people in 2015/16, an average of 152 a day.

Detective superintendent Anne-Marie Salwey, head of specialist crime at Cleveland Police, said there has been a £3m investment into Cleveland Polices’ Protecting Vulnerable People Unit. It included the creation of the VEMT team to deal with child sexual exploitation, missing and trafficked children. There has also been an increase in officers within the Paedophile Online Investigation Team and the Child Abuse Investigation Team.

She said: “We have seen an increase in the reporting of sexual offences, including historical offences.

“In part these numbers have grown due to an increase in confidence of victims coming forward and speaking to police, impacted by the number of high profile cases in the national media.

“Victims are offered advice and support from independent agencies and are also given support by Independent Sexual Violence Advisors, known as ISVA’S.

“Intermediaries are also available to assist children when speaking to police about difficult issues.

“Those who have been a victim of sexual abuse are encouraged to come forward and report it to police.

“Victims can be assured that they will be listened to and that all reports will be thoroughly investigated by specially trained officers.”