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More children in South Holland have reported incidents of sexual abuse to Lincolnshire Police

Increasing numbers of children in South Holland have reported incidents of sexual abuse.

Rape and ‘inciting a minor to engage in sexual activity’ were among 95 such offences reported to police last year - with just six actions taken. That is up from 47 cases in 2015.

Lincolnshire Police is appealing for victims and people who suspect abuse to get in touch.

South Holland has seen a rise in the numbers of sexual offences against under 16s
South Holland has seen a rise in the numbers of sexual offences against under 16s

A raft of allegations in schools and colleges were reported earlier this year to the Everyone’s Invited website.

Detective Superintendent Martyn Parker, Head of Protecting Vulnerable People, said: “Numbers of recorded offences have risen locally and this reflects the national picture and greater awareness of the issue.

“We have been working hard over several years to make sure that we identify such offences, record them effectively and safeguard victims. Increases reflect confidence in reporting, and encouragement of reporting, for example through the ‘Everyone’s Invited’ campaign.

“Our ultimate aim is to identify every sexual offence committed against a child so we can investigate, bring offenders to justice, and support victims.

“We want to hear from parents, carers, family members or anyone who suspects abuse. Please come to us if you think something is not quite right.”

In figures revealed to the Spalding Guardian, a total of 47 child sex offences were recorded in 2015 - but 105 reports were made in 2019.

Of the 95 offences reported in 2020, a total of 41 were said to be committed by offenders under the age of 18.

There were ten reports of rapes of girls aged 13 to 15, along with seven reports of ‘engaging in a sexual communication with a child’.

Four people have been charged with offences while two have been summonsed.

Police say 21% of cases are still being investigated and 27% of incidents which concluded without identifying a suspect were online offences. In some cases victims have ‘withdrawn their support’ or were unable to help identify the offender.

Det Supt Parker said: “We would encourage anyone that has been sexually abused to report their abuse to us so we can ensure the right safeguarding measures are in place. If victims do wish to report criminal offences to us, their account will be recorded, they will be treated with compassion and respect with an impartial and proportionate investigation commenced to identify any evidence, regardless of when or where the offence is said to have taken place.”

Janice Spencer, assistant director for children’s services at the county council, said: “Compared to five years ago, there is now much greater awareness of this issue, and it’s perhaps more likely that incidents will be spotted and reported, which could partly explain the rise in recorded offences.

“The Department for Education expects schools to deliver appropriate relationship and health education to prepare pupils for adulthood and develop their understanding of this area, including the potential impact in terms of physical and mental health.”

l To report concerns of a child at risk call the council on 01522 782111 or 01522 782333. Or contact police on 101.

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