More people have confidence to report historic child sex abuse across Suffolk and Essex
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Survivors of historic child sex abuse will be believed and listened to, a senior Suffolk detective has said as new data shows more people than ever before are coming forward.
Figures obtained by the NSPCC suggest 630 victims have reported offences in Suffolk over the past four years, with a spike recorded from 104 last year to 249 this year.
In Essex, police were unable to provide data for previous years but said there were 546 cases reported in 2016/17 alone.
Detective Chief Inspector Barry Byford heads up the safeguarding and investigations team at Suffolk police. He said: “I think part of the reason why reports have gone up is societal – high profile publicity of sexual offending, particularly cases like Jimmy Saville, have encouraged more people to come forward.
“In Suffolk I think when victims come to us now; they know they will be listened to and believed.
“My appeal to anyone that has been a victim is if you have had something happen to you the police will support you in every way possible.”
Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said it is reassuring to know how many people in the county are doing their best to help victims through traumatic experiences.
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“I think it is very reassuring that victims nowadays have the confidence to report cases, even if they are historic going back some years. Being the victim of serious offences can be extremely traumatic for the victim.
“It is very important that justice is done and that the victims are supported all the way through.
“We are very lucky in Suffolk to have such a huge range of voluntary organisations such as Fresh Start – New Beginnings, Survivors in Transition and lots of others. I have had the opportunity to meet victims and see first hand how dreadful, long lasting and devastating the effects of serious sexual offences can be.”
NSPCC chiefs said it is encouraging that so many people are finding their voice.
Chief executive Peter Wanless said: “Although these rising figures paint a worrying picture of widespread abuse, it is encouraging that so many know they will be listened to and supported.”
“What’s important now is survivors of abuse receive the support they need and that the people who carried out these vile offences are identified and finally brought to justice.”