More children seek help after sex abuse, says Barnardo's

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Barnardo's says demand for its services has more than doubled

A surge in children as young as 10 seeking help after sex abuse has seen demand for services more than double in five years, says a leading charity.

Last year, Barnardo's helped 3,200 vulnerable children, compared with 1,190 in 2010.

The charity says it needs to raise an extra £500,000 to cope with the UK-wide increase in demand for its experts.

Chief executive Javed Khan said recent high-profile sexual abuse cases had encouraged more children to speak out.

'Any child'

Mr Khan said: "Everywhere we go, we find more young people needing our services.

"We all need to be aware any child can become a victim of this horrific form of abuse, regardless of where they live or their background."

Barnardo's has opened 11 new services in the past year, bringing the total to 59, but a spokesman said it was still not enough to meet demand.

"Reports to police about child sexual abuse are at record levels, but current services do not reflect this surge," said the spokesman.

"We also know recorded abuse is just scratching the surface of the total number of victims out there.

"As more and more children bravely speak out against their abusers it's vital therapeutic services are there to help them move forward positively from their horrendous experiences."

The charity calculates:

  • one in 10 children will experience some degree of sexual abuse
  • many abusers are family members "or well-known" to those they abuse
  • fewer than 10% of abused children are abused by strangers
  • studies of adult abusers reveal averages of up to 380 crimes per offender

It adds that relieving the trauma of sexual abuse in victims can take years of intensive therapy and counselling.

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