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Child sexual abuse taking up to two years to reach court!

View profile for David Hawkins
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A report published by the Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse (CSA Centre) has found that cases of child sexual abuse are taking up to two years to reach court from when they are first reported.

The report also shows that in 2021/22, 103,055 child sexual abuse offences were recorded, which the highest level recorded in England and Wales, although the CSA Centre also believes these crimes are severely under reported.

The CSA Centre report states "Concerningly, the rise in the number of recorded child sexual abuse offences was accompanied by a significant increase in the time it took for investigations and prosecutions to proceed through the criminal justice system. Further, large geographical variation in the identification of and response to child sexual abuse remained prominent in 2021/22.”

"There is an urgent need for local and national leaders to address these issues." The centre says that despite the increase in recorded crimes and assessments, child abuse is under-reported.

Ian Dean, director of the CSA Centre believes 500,000 young people are sexually abused every year, said "Although this report shows encouraging signs of improved identification of sexual abuse by professionals, there remains a long way to go before we can be confident that services are recognising and responding to anywhere close to the actual number of children who are being abused.

"Sexual abuse is a very hidden form of harm which many professionals find challenging to identify and it will take a significant and sustained effort to address this – but it must be a priority." The CSA Centre says there is considerable variation between areas of England in terms of how many abuse cases are identified.

The Safeguarding Minister, Sarah Dines MP, said: "Child sexual abuse is a horrific, devastating crime which targets the most vulnerable in our society and this Government is determined to tackle it. I welcome this report produced by the Home Office-funded Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse, which recognises improvements in identification and reporting.  However, the prevalence of these heinous crimes is deeply concerning, and we will leave no stone unturned in pursuing offenders and keeping children safe. We are putting the needs of victims at the heart of this work, including investing £477 million over three years to reduce court wait times”