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Six child sex offences recorded on average every day in Wales

Tamsin Mathias

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Child Abuse WalesTHE 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)
  • Gwent
    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.”

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Criminal damage at a caravan park in Kidwelly.

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POLICE are investigating reports of thefts and criminal damage at a caravan park in Kidwelly.

Two reports have been made, with a number of items stolen from two caravans at Tanylan Caravan Park.

The first incident took place between September 23 and October 12.

A number of items – including fishing equipment, computer consoles and £300 cash – were stolen, and an awning window was smashed.

The second report was made on October 13, with the crime taking place sometime after August 25.

Scooters, camping equipment, TVs, DVD players, Amazon fire sticks, a Wii U console, and several other items were taken.

Anyone with information about the burglaries is asked to contact PC 810 at Carmarthen Police Station.

You can report information by calling 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Abandoned property fire in Burry Port probed

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POLICE are investigating a fire at an abandoned property in Burry Port.

A call was made at around 1.20am today (Tuesday, November 19) reporting that a detached house in Graig was well alight.

The house is not lived in, and has sustained substantial fire damage.

There were no witnesses to indicate who has started the fire, but two people were seen running away from the scene.

Due to the temperature inside the building remaining high today, it has been unsafe for investigators to enter the building.

Anyone with information, or who saw a person or people acting suspiciously in the area between 12.30am and 1.30am is urged to contact the joint investigation unit at Llanelli Police Station.

You can report information by calling 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Man ‘fit for work’ collapses and dies at job centre

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A 65-YEAR-OLD man has collapsed while waiting for an appointment in a job centre in south Wales. He was found slumped in his chair at 9.30am on Friday in Llanelli.

The DWP said: “Our thoughts and those of the staff at Llanelli Jobcentre are with the family and friends at this time.”

The Llanelli Herald understands that he was waiting for an appointment to discuss Jobseeker’s Allowance after being declared fit for work earlier this year.

Staff and customers rushed to help, but they were unable to get a response so lay him on the floor.

They started CPR and an ambulance was called while the job centre was evacuated, but paramedics declared him dead at the scene. A witness told The Metro newspaper: “I didn’t know him myself, but the man who was sat next to me told me that he had grown up with the guy.

“The man next to me told me that the poor guy had diabetes and had been declared fit for work by the job centre earlier in the year but he was obviously ill.

“The ambulance came but he sadly died and they had to take his body out of the job centre, it was awful.

“We were all very shook up; it was a horrible situation that should have never happened. The job centre is all shut down now.’

The Welsh Ambulance Service confirmed to The Herald: “We were called on Friday November 15 at approximately 9.33am to reports of a person needing urgent medical attention on Stepney Street in central Llanelli. ‘We responded with one rapid response vehicle, one specialised medical vehicle and one emergency ambulance.’

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