Nearly 300 children sexually abused across South Yorkshire last year, NSPCC figures reveal

Nearly 300 children were subjected to sexual abuse across South Yorkshire last year, new data from the NSPCC has revealed.

By Claire Schofield
Wednesday, 07 August, 2019, 11:40

The charity obtained the figures from a Freedom of Information request submitted to police forces across the country.

Children abused as young as four

Data revealed that South Yorkshire police are dealing with hundreds of sexual offences against children, with a total of 296 crimes recorded against youngsters aged between four and eight years old in the past year.

296 children were subjected to sexual abuse across South Yorkshire last year

There were more than 7,500 sexual offences recorded across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The NSPCC also revealed that last year hundreds of children under the age of 11 living across the UK had contacted Childline about sexual abuse.

A young girl who contacted Childline said, "I want to know if something that happened to me was wrong.

"The other day my older brother's friend kissed me and touched me. He asked me to do other things but I said no and he got angry with me.

"I feel awful and like what happened was all my fault. My friends have all told me that it's fine but I'm so confused. Is this normal?"

Encouraging 'vital conversations'

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In response to the shocking number of children being subjected to sexual abuse, the charity has relaunched its Talk PANTS safety campaign this week.

The campaign aims to help parents with children aged eight and under to have vital conversations about staying safe from sexual abuse.

The charity's PANTS project aims to help parents find the right words to talk to their children about staying safe through songs and characters, without using the words "sex" or "abuse", making it easier to tackle the sensitive subject.

The PANTS acronym provides a simple but valuable rule to help keep children safe - that their body belongs to them, they have a right to say no, and that they should tell an adult they trust if they are worried or upset.

Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, said, "It is very concerning that the number of recorded sexual offences against young children is at such a high level and it is vital we do more to help them stay safe from sexual abuse.

"That is why Talk PANTS is such an important tool for parents, as it enables them to have vital conversations with their child in an age appropriate way."

Donna-Marie Wright, a mum to seven and passionate supporter of the NSPCC's campaign, added, "Having been abused myself between the ages of seven and 18, I believe it's essential that all parents talk to their children about staying safe from sexual abuse.

"Many parents may worry that talking to their children about this sensitive subject will be scary and confusing but the PANTS activities help you find the right words.

"There is no mention of sex or abuse and when I've used them with my own young children, I've found the resources to be incredibly useful."

For more information on the NSPCC Talk PANTS campaign visit nspcc.org.uk/pants