Child sex offences reported in Greater Manchester have increased fourfold in three years, according to a new report by Stockport MP, Ann Coffey.
In addition, the number of known or suspected child sex offenders identified has doubled to 1,139 since 2014. Between October 2014 and June last year police received 10,269 pieces of intelligence, including anonymous public tip offs, involving child sex offences.
We regularly see how many cases of abuse may have been avoided, and predators brought to justice, if there had been a mandatory reporting law. This would mean those in a position of trust would have a legal obligation to report suspicious behaviour to management and the police.
This is echoed in the report, which suggests that better training and awareness amongst the police and the public has led to these significant increases in reporting offences, identification of victims and offenders and intelligence tip-offs.
Following the report’s publication, Detective Superintendent Joanne Rawlinson, from Greater Manchester Police, said: "We rely on the support from the public and their information plays a crucial role in our fight against child sexual exploitation.
"As such, the number of reports of child sexual exploitation and intelligence submissions has never been higher and I'd like to thank the public for having the confidence to come forward and help us achieve this.”
The report, entitled "Real Voices, Are They Being Heard?" is a follow-up to a 2014 study commissioned to assess improvements in protecting youngsters after nine men were jailed in 2012 for running a child sexual exploitation ring in Heywood and Rochdale.
Also highlighted by the report were delays of up to five months for police to examine the computers of suspected offenders due to workload pressures. In the report was the example of a case of a mother whose 13-year-old daughter was being groomed and reported it in 2013, handing in her child's computer and mobile phone to police. After ten months the family had still not heard anything form the police, while the man, who has since been jailed, was able to go on to groom and sexually abuse another child.
For more information on this, please see: Police Still Unable to Use New Law to Tackle Child Grooming
Information on how to spot and report signs of sexual abuse and exploitation can be found on http://www.itsnotokay.co.uk/
Richard Scorer is a principal lawyer and head of the abuse team at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.
Slater and Gordon have the UK’s most experienced team of abuse lawyers and are currently representing over 800 survivors of abuse.
We offer a free and completely confidential consultation to anyone affected by sexual abuse. Call us anytime 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.