Child Sex Crimes Hit 10-Year High

17 June 2015, 05:00 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

Child Abuse

The number of allegations of sexual offences against children in Scotland has reached a ten year high, according to the charity NSPCC.

It says there were 3,742 reports of rape, sexual assault and grooming involving under 18s in 2013/14.

In 3,101 cases the victim was under 16 at the time -  a rise of 50% since 2003/4.

The figures include historical allegations, including some dating back many years, but the charity's also seen an increase in the number of adults getting in touch because they're worried about children being abused now.

407 have contacted the NSPCC helpline in the past year, which is 19% more than the year before.

Analysts have suggested the publicity surrounding cases like the Jimmy Savile scandal has helped.

Director of NSPCC Scotland, Matt Forde, said: "We've had these high profile cases, which have given people the confidence to come forward and has made people more aware in general of children being at risk.

"In one sense it's good news but in another sense it's a reminder that sexual offences against children is a problem we still have to solve."

Long-term research by the charity suggests the number of children being abused has dropped slightly in the past two decades - but Mr Forde warned there could still be youngster who are too scared to speak up.

He said: "Some of the people who are coming forward about historical allegations have held onto that terrible secret for many, many years and haven't come forward for fear for not being believed.

"There's absolutely no reason to suppose that there aren't children right now who are suffering in the same way."