New campaign launched as data reveals spike in child sexual exploitation crimes in Wales
A leading children’s charity has revealed a spike in the number of crimes involving child sexual exploitation, as a new campaign is launched to encourage vulnerable youngsters to seek help.
New analysis by the NSPCC of police recorded crime data reveals the number of crimes with an element of child sexual exploitation jumped by 70 per cent in Wales in the last 12 months.
During 2021/22 there were 752 crimes logged by the four police forces in Wales where children had been sexually exploited.
This is an increase from 440 crimes the previous year.
Dyfed Powys police recorded the biggest increase in logged offenses- from 164 to 423.
During 2021/22 in England and Wales there were a total of 17,486 crimes logged by police where children had been sexually exploited– an average of 48 offences a day – an increase of 10 per cent on the previous year.
The charity has published this data as its Childline service launches ‘The Full Story’ campaign in a bid to encourage more children and teenagers at risk of, or suffering sexual exploitation to contact Childline for help.
One 15-year-old girl from Wales told Childline: “I’ve been having a sexual relationship with my mum’s ex-boyfriend.
“We were also sexual with each other when he used to live with us. I know that I was very young, and I didn’t really know what I was doing.
“Sometimes I think it was abuse, but sometimes I don’t.
“He is pretty much my boyfriend. I have really confusing feelings about him as he’s the only one who’s made me feel wanted.”
As well as helping children and young people gain an understanding of what sexual exploitation is and what a healthy relationship looks like, Childline is focussed on getting more young people to connect with them so they can offer immediate help and confidential support.
This week, the service has unveiled posters at bus stops, motorway service stations, cinemas, colleges, Pupil Referral Units, youth centres, youth hostels, children’s homes, GP’s, and sexual health clinics.
Darren Worth, Service Head of Childline said: “Sexual exploitation is a complex crime and often when children describe what is happening in their relationship, they don’t realise they are being groomed and abused.
“Our counsellors have heard from children who have said they didn’t realise what they experienced in a relationship or friendship was wrong until they were much older, and some said at the time they thought their abuser was someone they could trust.
“Others said they thought they were to blame for what had happened and were scared about what would happen if they did speak out.
“This is why this campaign is so important as it’s essential that all children and young people have an awareness of this issue and know that no matter what the circumstances are, that sexual exploitation is never a child’s fault and there are people like Childline who can help.”
For more information on the campaign visit here…..
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