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[Published: Monday August 10 2020]

 UK sex crimes against babies almost 450, Children's Charity

LONDON 10 Aug (ANA) - Nearly 450 sex crimes were committed against babies before their first birthday in the last year, new figures have revealed. 
Children’s Charity, the NSPCC, is calling for urgent action amid fears that sexual abuse within the family has increased significantly during lockdown.
 The data also revealed that girls were four times more likely to be victims than boys. Last year there were 73,518 offences against children, including rape, grooming and sexual assaults – a significant increase from 2014/15 when there were 46,738 cases.
 However, the figure is expected to be higher as Greater Manchester Police did not provide data. Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said: ‘‘The crisis of child sexual abuse is not going away and behind these figures are thousands of children and young people who have reported crimes that can have a devastating impact on their lives. 
‘Urgent action is needed to prevent abuse and to ensure children are supported to recover when they bravely speak out.’ 
Childline said that the number of calls they received for sexual abuse within the family trebled since coronavirus restrictions were put in place towards the end of March. One 17-year-old girl said: ‘It started during lockdown. I don’t want to live here anymore. 
‘I feel I should tell social services about how abusive dad is, but I don’t feel ready to tell them about the sexual abuse part.’ 
The charity is urging the Government to publish its strategy to tackle child sexual abuse announced by then home secretary Sajid Javid in June last year.
 The charity is calling for departments, including the Home Office, Department of Education and Ministry of Justice to join up efforts to prevent abuse. 
Mr Wanless added: ‘We need concerted leadership from governments across the UK to implement strategies on tackling child sexual abuse that put the experiences and needs of children at their heart and are effective in preventing abuse and helping young people recover.’(ANA)
FA/ANA/10 August 2020------

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