New Figures Show Increase In Recorded Offences
By Rob Dixon
An increase in the number of sexual offences recorded by the police is one of the clearest indications yet that recent high-profile cases including the Jimmy Savile scandal have encouraged victims of abuse to speak out about their ordeals, according to a child abuse lawyer at Irwin Mitchell.
New figures provided to BBC Radio 5 Live under a Freedom of Information Act request have revealed that a nine per cent rise in the number of recorded offences was seen in the six months after an ITV documentary featuring allegations about the late broadcaster was shown.
Increases were seen in a number of areas across Britain, with significant spikes being seen in both West Yorkshire and Bedfordshire. Further research by the BBC has suggested that a number of the offences recorded relate to sexual crimes from some time ago.
Irwin Mitchell’s specialist child abuse lawyers represent a number of people who have suffered severe, life-changing physical and psychological abuse at a young age.
Tracey Storey, a Partner based at the national law firm’s London office, said: “The increase in recorded offences is hugely worrying but reflects what we have seen in terms of enquiries, with a huge number of people coming forward to seek advice and support regarding sexual abuse perpetrated in the past.
“The recent revelations about Savile and others including Stuart Hall have had a major impact on a huge number of people, many of whom have been living with the impact of abuse for many years and have felt unable to speak out or discuss their ordeals.
“There is now a very real feeling among victims of abuse, perhaps more than ever, that if they do now come forward their voices will be heard by authorities and action taken to hold those responsible to account.
“It takes an unbelievable level of courage to speak out about such experiences, but many victims of abuse recognise that they can now get the support they need to come to terms with what they have faced.
“Abuse is now being talked about more openly than ever and it is vital that efforts continue to bring this terrible issue out in the open. This should focus on not only fully investigating the crimes brought to light but also the lessons which can be learnt from past mistakes so that children are better safeguarded in the future”
Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in relation to Child Abuse