Facts/Stats on Child abuse

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Key child protection statistics

MORE than 400 children are sexually abused every week in Britain — one every 20 MINUTES, a shock investigation has revealed

The 43 police forces in England and Wales recorded 23,097 child sex offences in 2011. That included rape, incest, child prostitution and pornography.

The annual figure is equivalent to 444 attacks a week — or one kiddie abused every 20 minutes.

Just as worryingly, only 2,135 of offences reported — ten per cent — led to someone actually being convicted and sentenced. Thousands of paedos escape scot-free.

Thames Valley Police, covering Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, had the second highest child abuse figures, with 1,264 offences. Last month the force smashed an alleged child sex ring in the university city of Oxford. It is claimed 24 victims — some as young as 11 — were groomed, drugged and raped over a period of six years.

More than 1,470 of the national total were aged five and under, 4,973 were ten to five and 14,819 were between 11 and 17. Six times as many girls (19,790) were abused as boys (3,218)

Breakdown of abuse

1% of children aged under 16 experienced sexual abuse by a parent or carer, and a further 3% by another relative during childhood.

11% of children aged under 16 experienced sexual abuse during childhood by people known but unrelated to them.

5% of children aged under 16 experienced sexual abuse during childhood by an adult stranger or someone they had just met.

In total, 16% of children aged under 16 experienced sexual abuse during childhood. 11% of this was contact abuse and 6% was non-contact.

Overall, 11% of boys aged under 16 and 21% of girls aged under 16 experienced sexual abuse  during childhood.

The majority of children who experienced sexual abuse had more than one sexually abusive experience; only indecent exposure was likely to be a single incident.

Three-quarters (72%) of sexually abused children did not tell anyone about the abuse at the time. 27% told someone later. Around a third (31%) still had not told anyone about their experience(s) by early adulthood.

More than one third (36%) of all rapes recorded by the police are committed against children under 16 years of age.

A study which examined police data on rapes committed against children found that children under the age of 12 were the most likely of all those aged 16 and under to have reported being raped by someone they knew well . Children under the age of 12 were least likely to have been raped by a stranger. Children between 13 and 15 years of age were the most likely to have reported being raped by an ‘acquaintance

For the children who experienced sexual abuse in the family, the most common perpetrator was a brother or stepbrother:

38% of penetrative/oral acts of sexual abuse in the family were by a brother/stepbrother

23% were perpetrated by a father

14% were perpetrated by an uncle

13% were perpetrated by a stepfather

8% were perpetrated by a cousin

6% were perpetrated by a grandfather

4% were perpetrated by a mother  .

For other forms of sexual abuse (attempted penetrative/oral acts, touching, voyeurism/pornography and exposure) brothers were also the most frequently cited perpetrator.

For the children who experienced sexual abuse outside of the family, the most common perpetrator was a boyfriend or girlfriend.

70% of penetrative/oral acts of sexual abuse outside of the family were by a boyfriend/girlfriend

17% were perpetrated by ‘someone I recently met’

10% were perpetrated by a fellow student/pupil

6% were perpetrated by a friend of their parents

6% were perpetrated by a friend of their brother/sister.

Very few children (less than 1%) experienced abuse by professionals in a position of trust, for example a teacher, religious leader or care/social worker.


1. The study defined sexual abuse as acts against the respondent’s wishes when aged under 16, or acts perpetrated by someone 5 or more years older when the child was aged 12 or under. Sexual acts were categorised as ‘contact’ (physical contact with genital, anal or other normally private areas of the body; and other physical contact such as sexual hugging and kissing) and ‘non-contact’ (exposure of genitals or other private areas of the body, voyeurism, exposing children to, or using them to make, pornography or to watch sexual acts). The study only included acts experienced by children aged up to 16.

December 2011

43% of sex criminals are spared prison sentences

ALMOST half of all sex offenders were spared jail last year. Lenient judges let 2,497 – or 43% – of the 5,784 convicted walk free from court.

The number of sex criminals allowed straight back into the community has increased by 20% over the past five years

Alarmingly, child abuse carried out by offenders within a year of their community sentences soared from 50 to 172 in four years – up 250%.

Sex attacks in total rocketed from 174 to 518 – 200% –and violent incidents soared 140% from 7,300 to 17,443

Even those sent to prison are often freed within months. A total of 17% of sex offenders are jailed for less than a year and 60% for less than three years. Separate figures showed sex assaults on boys and girls under 13 have more than doubled since 2004.