‘Staggering scale’ of child sexual abuse highlighted by MP

More than 3,200 offenders were jailed for child sexual abuse in 2017, Home Office figures have revealed.

Rape of a child under 13, penetrative assault of a child under 13 or paying for the sexual services of a child under 13 are reasons for custodial sentences.

Labour MP Sarah Champion obtained the figures to highlight the “truly staggering” scale of child abuse, with 3,234 offenders jailed in 2017, 20 of them for life.

  • 3,234 offenders jailed in total

  • 20 life sentences

  • 300 for more then 10 years

  • 1,843 for between one and five years and

“In 2017 alone, 20 people received life sentences for truly abhorrent offences,” she said.

“Let us remember that for every crime, there is at least one child whose life has potentially been destroyed.

The data also shows 1,843 were put behind bars for between one and five years and 300 were sentenced for more then 10 years.

But the Rotherham MP said the figures “only tell part of the story”.

She said: “We know only 15% of adult rape victims report to the police – for children this is likely to be even less.

“The release of these statistics proves that child sexual abuse continues to occur in this country on a scandalous scale.

“There is still so much work to be done to prevent it.”

The data shows the number of not guilty pleas rises as the severity of crime increases, Ms Champion said, and it was also clear there were a high number of victims forced to relive the trauma due to a ‘not guilty’ plea being entered.

MP portraits
MP portraits

She said: “It’s appalling that so many victims, who have already had their lives torn apart, are then dragged through the courts by their abusers.

“It disgusts me that the figures suggest the more serious the offence, the less likely perpetrators are to own up to the crime which would save the victim the court process.

“Victims have to survive their abuse once, only to be forced to relive it all over again in court because of the same abuser.”

Ms Champion is calling for a statutory duty to give a “Victim’s Offer” so everyone can get therapeutic support and advocacy they need.