THE NUMBER of child sex offences reported to police across Wales rose to 2,328 last year: An average of more than six a day.
The figures, obtained by NSPCC Cymru/Wales, show a 13 per cent rise on 2014/15, when 2,069 sexual offences against children were recorded by Wales’s four police forces.
Dyfed Powys Police saw the most significant increase, from 328 to 679 in 15/16; a 107 per cent rise.
A total of 643 victims in Wales were aged ten or under. At least 185 victims were four and under, some of whom would be too young to even attend primary school.
The other forces recorded the following figures, which were released to NSPCC Cymru / Wales under the Freedom of Information Act:
- North Wales
398 (14/15) 584 (15/16)
- South Wales
637 (14/15) 753 (15/16)
706 (14/15) 311 (15/16)
Across the UK, the figure rose to a record 55,507 last year, which an average of 152 a day or one child sex offence every ten minutes.
Police recorded crimes against children that included rape, sexual assault, and sexual exploitation.
The NSPCC believes a number of reasons could explain the increase across Wales and the rest of the UK, including police forces improving recording methods; survivors feeling more confident in disclosing abuse following high-profile cases, and online grooming becoming a major problem with predators reaching multiple children.
The total number of sex offences committed is unknown, as more children may not have come forward because they are frightened, embarrassed, or do not realise that they have been abused.
Currently, police and social services mostly react when child sexual abuse is reported. NSPCC believes there needs to be a concerted shift towards early intervention and preventing child sexual abuse before children are exposed to harm.
NSPCC Cymru is calling on the Welsh Government to lead on the development of a comprehensive child sexual abuse action plan.
This is why the children’s charity, as well as Stop it Now! Wales and The Survivors Trust, are working in partnership on a cross party group on child sexual abuse in the National Assembly for Wales.
The NSPCC’s “Speak Out. Stay Safe” programme visits primary schools across the UK to help children learn the signs of abuse and what to do if they have been the victim of such abuse.
The programme, which was launched in Wales in 2011, has already reached more than 80,000 children.
NSPCC also wants every child who is sexually abused to receive a therapeutic service to enable them to recover from the experience.
It is also essential that children receive a therapeutic service to help them recover. The charity’s ‘Letting The Future In’ service provides therapy for children who have been sexually abused and the charity is working with other organisations to increase the amount of therapeutic support available for children in Wales.
NSPCC also provides the ‘Protect and Respect’ programme which helps older children and young people who have been, or are at risk of being, sexually exploited.
Des Mannion, head of NSPCC Cymru / Wales, said: “Sexual abuse can shatter a child’s life and without help have lifelong impacts. Victims need help to speak out and support to help them recover from their ordeals and go on to lead full and happy lives.
“NSPCC is calling on the Welsh Government to lead on the development of a comprehensive child sexual abuse action plan. This action plan could ensure that parents and professionals know what to do to prevent child sexual abuse as well as ensuring children receive the help they need to recover.
“Given the increasing prevalence of online offending we need to ensure children and young people are protected online. It is therefore crucial that a comprehensive online safety action plan is also developed, supported by a digital advisory group.”
Stereophonics to play Swansea gig
ONE of Britain’s best live bands Stereophonics has announced a special performance at Singleton Park, Swansea on Saturday, July 13, 2019.
The stadium rockers will perform in their south Wales heartland to celebrate 20 years since the career milestone show in Swansea at Morfa Stadium to 55,000 people and the release of ‘Performance and Cocktails’.
It will be the band’s first time back in south west Wales since their Morfa Stadium show in 1999. This now iconic album, which was the band’s second studio release, gave Stereophonics three straight top five singles in the British charts with ‘The Bartender and the Thief’ reaching No.3, and both ‘Just Looking’ and ‘Pick a Part That’s New’ reaching No.4.
Over the past two decades, Stereophonics have played at some of the biggest venues to fans all across the globe, amassing over 10 million album sales in that time.
More recently in 2018, the band performed to sell-out crowds across the globe, including a huge 15-date arena tour, summer homecoming gigs in Wrexham and Cardiff plus headline shows at Kendal Calling, Y Not Festival and Victorious Festival.
Speaking about the latest announcement, Kelly Jones said: “Performance and Cocktails put us on the world map, and also on the TV and the Radio, which meant a lot of people went back to discover Word Gets Around and made our first album platinum! Morfa Stadium was where we set Performance and Cocktails alight, and it was a one off day that can never be beaten. It was perfect. I’m not a man that likes to go backwards, this event is merely a birthday party, so come along and help us blow out the candles.”
Stereophonics are Kelly Jones (vocals/guitar), Richard Jones (bass), Adam Zindani (guitar) and Jamie Morrison (drums).
Tickets go on sale on Friday (Dec 14) at 10am via www.myticket.co.uk.
Heroin could be linked to Aberysytwyth supply
A LIVERPOOL man has admitted possessing heroin that could be linked to drugs supplied in Aberystwyth.
Jack English, aged 20, pleaded guilty to possessing a quantity of heroin with intent to supply when he appeared at Swansea Crown ccourt for a plea and trial preparation hearing before Judge Keith Thomas.
The court heard the drugs could also be linked to English’s father, who had been a heroin user who had ‘gone to Aberystwyth on many occasions’ and who had died since his son’s arrest in October 2017.
Judge Thomas said he would sentence English on January 11.
English, of Storrington Road, was granted bail meanwhile but warned that a jail sentence was the most likely outcome.
Mark Drakeford named next First Minister
THE NEXT First Minister of Wales will be Mark Drakeford, it has been announced this afternoon (Dec 6).
Mr Drakeford, a Cardiff West AM, was named as the winner of the Welsh Labour leadership contest at the Principality Stadium.
The contest was triggered when Carwyn Jones, the current First Minister, announced he was stepping down.
Mr Jones will officially step down on Tuesday (Dec 10).
Mr Drakeford will then be officially confirmed as the new First Minister of Wales by the National Assembly next week.
In the first round of voting, the results were:
Mark Drakeford – 46.9%
Vaughan Gething – 30.8%
Eluned Morgan – 22.3%
Eluned Morgan’s votes were then redistributed on voters’ second preferences, with the following results:
Mark Drakeford – 53.9%
Vaughan Gethin – 46.1%
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