More than 21,000 child sex offences recorded last year
NSPCC publish data collected under Freedom of Information Act
Under-18s were victims of sex crimes, including rape, gross indecency and incest, on 21,618 occasions during 2008-09, according to statistics obtained by the NSPCC from all 43 police forces in England and Wales.
One in seven of the children (3035) were younger than ten and 1,000 were five and under. In more than three out of four cases the offences were committed against 10 to 17-year-olds (17,091).
This is the second year the NSPCC has collected such data. The comparative overall number of child sex offences for the previous year was 20,758. However, last year one force failed to provide figures.
NSPCC director of strategy and development Phillip Noyes said:
"These figures show just how many children are still being sexually abused every day. It's a shocking picture - even more so because these are only offences reported to the police. We believe the true extent of the problem is far worse.”