Convictions for sex offences against children under 16 have increased by almost 60 per cent in six years, it has emerged.
Convictions for sex offences against children have increased by almost 60 per cent. Image: Phil Adams
Figures released to the BBC by the Ministry of Justice following a Freedom of Information request show there were 2,135 convictions in 2010, compared to 1,363 in 2005.
The MoJ publishes statistics on sexual offences against children every quarter, but these do not include children who are raped. Instead, rape against children is included in the total of convictions for rape on all ages. But the latest release to the BBC cover all sex offences against children.
Child protection groups have said despite better detection and raised awareness of sexual offences against children, it remains an under-reported crime.
Lisa Harker, NSPCC head of strategy, said last year police in
"It's difficult to tell if these figures indicate an increase in the number of sex offences being committed against children," she said.
"It may be that more people – adults and children – are becoming aware of abuse and so are reporting cases to the police and other authorities.
"Nevertheless, it's still a relatively small number of convictions considering child sex abuse is a big problem."
Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) chief executive Peter Davies said police forces had changed how they investigated child sex abuse and officers have had specific training.