NSPCC warning - most abusers are ‘friends’ or family members

The NSPCC is reminding people that the majority of sex offences against children are committed by someone who knows the child.

High profile cases involving grooming gangs and online abuse networks tend to focus peoples’ attention on ‘stranger danger’. However, just seven per cent of sexual abuse cases reported to Sussex Police last year involved a stranger.

Julie Cole of the NSPCC said: “There is sometimes the perception that child sex offenders are strangers - sinister figures lurking in the shadows. But the reality is that most victims know their abusers. They are more likely to be a relative, neighbour or family friend rather than someone they have never met before. Many of the victims are threatened or intimidated into silence with some thinking no one will believe them or that their revelations will break-up their family. This means some offenders go unpunished and are at liberty to abuse more youngsters.

“Understandably, it takes a lot of courage for a child to talk about such awful events but speaking out is key to ending the cycle of abuse and they must have support to do this. We strongly urge children who think they have no one to turn to to contact ChildLine.”

ChildLine is on 0800 1111, while concerned adults can contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.