Wales

Stop it Now! Wales urges child sexual abuse strategy

Campaigners have called for a strategy in Wales to protect children affected by sexual abuse.

Stop it Now! Wales says more children could be protected if a "public health approach" was adopted.

It says sexual abuse is a "hidden problem", with 225 out of 600,000 children in Wales being considered at risk on the child protection register.

Deputy Children's Minister Gwenda Thomas said more people needed confidence to speak out.

Launching its latest report, Stop it Now! says its research is based on interviews with 100 people, including victims of sexual abuse, abusers and police and other protection agency staff.

Among its aims are increasing public awareness and "the development and implementation of a comprehensive, co-ordinated response to the sexual abuse of children, both nationally and locally".

The campaign also aims to address the shortage in services and resources required to achieve prevention before sexual abuse occurs".

Stop it Now! Wales national campaign manager Rebecca Morgan, said: "The problem of sexual abuse is a hidden problem - out of 600,000 children in Wales only 225 are on the child protection register for being at risk of sexual abuse as at 31 March 2011, yet we know at least one in 10 children and young people are affected by it."

Mrs Thomas said: "Fear and uncertainty can, so often, stop people from taking action to prevent abuse in the first instance and we need to instil people with the confidence to speak out."

Gaynor Mckeown, of Victim Support, which is working with the campaign, said: "Detection of offenders is crucial but more importantly is the prevention of the abuse in the first place."

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