Ipswich child sex abuse charity sees 50% rise in referrals

  • Published
Child covering her faceImage source, PA
Image caption,
Fresh Start New Beginnings said children had been "more trapped and more vulnerable" over lockdown

A charity working with victims of child sex abuse has reported a 50% rise in referrals since lockdown in March.

Fresh Start New Beginnings (FSNB) in Ipswich said it was working with just over 200 children before coronavirus restrictions were introduced, and that had increased to 300 since.

It said numbers were likely to rise further within the next few months.

The charity said it had anticipated the surge as children had been "more trapped and more vulnerable".

The increase was due to people being at home for longer periods than normal, FSNB said.

'More isolated'

Minnie Moll, an ambassador for the charity, said the anti-coronavirus mantra "stay home, stay safe" was "heart-wrenching".

"For too many children that was the exact opposite, they were more vulnerable, more isolated and more alone," she said.

She said during lockdown children lost their support network of school, another trusted adult or other family members.

Ms Moll, the former chief executive of Jarrold in Norwich who has spoken of her own experience of sexual abuse when she was a child, urged victims to be "brave enough to tell someone".

Image caption,
Minnie Moll said lockdown made victims of child sexual abuse "more vulnerable and isolated"

One victim wrote in a letter that she felt she would "never feel safe again" after she was sexually abused by her father.

The pre-teenage girl, whose identity was not being disclosed, said she felt "trapped, scared and afraid".

Patsy Johnson-Cisse, FSNB's income and operations director, said it was "all hands on deck" as they dealt with the increase in referrals from local agencies.

She said they needed to employ additional staff to help meet the increase in demand.

According to data analysed by the NSPCC, an estimated one in 20 children in the UK have been sexually abused.

Find BBC News: East of England on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you have a story suggestion email eastofenglandnews@bbc.co.uk

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.