Sarah Champion MP uncovers shocking statistics on child sexual abuse convictions.
Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham, has obtained statistics showing the length of custodial sentences handed to people convicted of child sexual abuse offences in 2017. The information was obtained in a written parliamentary question to the Home Office.
The figures give a true indication of the scale of child sexual abuse in 2017, with 20 people receiving life sentences, and nearly 300 receiving sentences of over ten years. In total 3,234 people received custodial sentences in 2017, 57% of whom received sentences between one and five years.
According to the Sentencing Council, offences that warrant a custodial sentence for child sexual abuse include the rape of a child under 13, the assault of a child under 13 by penetration and the paying for the sexual services of a child under 13.
Commenting on the figures, Sarah Champion said:
‘The number of people who received lengthy custodial sentences for child sexual abuse last year are truly staggering. In 2017 alone, 20 people received life sentences for truly abhorrent offences. Let us remember that for every crime, there is at least one child whose life has potentially been destroyed.
These figures only tell part of the story. We know only 15% of adult rape victims report to the police, for children this is likely to be even less. The release of these statistics proves that child sexual abuse continues to occur in this country on a scandalous scale. There is still so much work to be done to prevent it.’
The figures also revealed the high number of victims whose cases were forced to go to trial and relive the trauma due to a ‘not guilty’ plea being entered. The data shows the number of not guilty pleas rises as the severity of crime increases.
‘It’s appalling that so many victims, who have already had their lives torn apart, are then dragged through the courts by their abusers. It disgusts me that the figures suggest the more serious the offence, the less likely perpetrators are to own up to the crime which would save the victim the court process. Victims have to survive their abuse once, only to be forced to relive it all over again in court because of the same abuser.
As a country we must commit to do more to prevent child abuse. But when it does occur, supporting victims as soon as they come forward is vital. The only way we can guarantee this is to introduce a statutory duty ‘Victim’s Offer’ so that everyone can get therapeutic support and advocacy they need.’