Five child sex allegations a day reported to Welsh police

Anonymous child on steps

The number of child sex allegations reported to police in Wales rose to 1,753 last year - an average of five a day.

Figures obtained by charity NSPCC Wales showed a 21% rise on 2013-14, when 1,446 allegations were recorded by the four police forces.

Gwent Police saw the biggest increase, from 226 to 389 - a 72% rise.

More than 320 allegations concerned children aged 10 and under and 135 were aged five and under.

Of the crimes reported involving the youngest children, seven involved children aged just one and under.

NSPCC Wales said alleged victims may now feel more confident about coming forward following greater awareness about sexual abuse and police may have improved their recording methods.

But it added the figures may only reveal a small part of the picture, as many children are afraid to speak about their experiences or say they are not believed.

According to the NSPCC Wales figures, North Wales Police saw a 26.7% increase in allegations from 314 to 398 between 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Dyfed-Powys Police received a 9.7% increase from 299 to 328. And South Wales Police saw a 4.9% rise from 607 to 637.

Each force was also asked for gender-based figures. Of those provided, more than five times as many offences were recorded against girls (1,235) than boys (205). Gwent Police could only supply gender details for 41 of its 389 recorded offences.

In 2013/14, 1,145 offences were recorded against girls and 229 against boys.

The forces were also asked to provide details on crimes that had an online element but only Dyfed Powys and North Wales did so, with 33 crimes in each force area falling into that category.

The figures may only reveal a small part of the whole picture, as many children are afraid to speak about their experiences. A recent NSPCC report also revealed some young victims say they are not believed when they report sex crimes to police.

Des Mannion from the charity said: "These figures paint a very worrying picture of just how extensive these appalling crimes have become.

"A huge rise across Wales is clearly troubling and we will seek to understand why offences have increased so significantly.

"Where better recording of this crime has at least contributed to an increase, police forces must be applauded and we wholeheartedly welcome any boost in confidence that is helping victims to come forward."

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