SHOCKING new figures have revealed two sex offences against children are reported in Cumbria every day.

The NSPCC is now calling for the Home Office to publish and implement its Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy.

The charity’s chief executive, Peter Wanless, said: “The crisis of child sexual abuse is not going away and behind these figures are thousands of children and young people who have reported crimes that can have a devastating impact on their lives.

“Urgent action is needed to prevent abuse and to ensure children are supported to recover when they bravely speak out


The NSPCC submitted a Freedom of Information request to Cumbria police, which revealed in 2019/2020 there were 839 reports of sex abuse on children, a 95 per cent increase since 2014/15.

Cumbria police’s Detective Inspector James Yallop said the steep increase could be down to many factors including: increased training and recording standards within the force; a rise in victims’ confidence in reporting the crime; rise in offences carried out online.

He said: “

Similar to the national picture, a significant proportion of the offences we record relate to sexual activity involving a child under the age of 16 which has occurred on the internet.

“We continue to raise awareness around online safety, child sexual exploitation and other topics and have done so during the current pandemic through live surgeries on social media. ”

The NSPCC said during the lockdown, contact from young people to Childline about sexual abuse in the family tripled.

Jo Birch, acting chief officer at Safety Net, a Cumbrian charity supporting sexual abuse victims, said: “Safety Net welcomes and supports the NSPCC’s call to highlight the devastation of childhood sexual abuse. We are saddened but not surprised by the rise of recorded statistics of child sexual abuse and are becoming increasingly aware of the need to support the growing numbers of survivors when lockdown eases and children and young people return to school.

“While lockdown protected us from infection, it trapped vulnerable children and young people at home with abusers." Lockdown also created a barrier to detection and denied children and young people access to support.

“Every day in Cumbria two child sexual offences are reported. Time is of the essence for us all to take part in protecting children and young people and preventing more child abuse. If we take the time to remind ourselves that every number is a child devastated by the ripple effect of sexual abuse. We all have to work together as a community to be vigilant, curious and proactive in identifying the “hidden harms” in our neighbourhoods, to enable us to provide a lifeline of support.".”

Children speak of horrific abuse

Some children told Childline that sexual abuse had become more frequent during lockdown, as they were spending more time with their abuser.

One 17-year-old girl said: “It started during lockdown, about seven weeks ago. Dad touched me and got me to touch him. Today he came into my room and removed his trousers and asked me to do something to him and I did it. I don’t want to live here anymore. I feel I should tell social services about how abusive dad is, but I don’t feel ready to tell them about the sexual abuse part.”

A third of counselling sessions were about abuse in the family that happened over a year ago, with many children talking about it for the first time.

A 15-year-old girl told Childline: “My dad touched me sexually when I was younger and now I have to be home all the time with him and I can’t deal with it. Just being in the house with him is so hard. I am constantly reminded of what he did.”

Help is available

Anyone concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC Helpline for advice on 0808 800 5000. Adult victims of non-recent sexual abuse can also get in touch for support.

Childline is available for young people on 0800 1111 or at

Safety Net supports the recovery of all those affected by rape, exploitation, sexual and domestic abuse, recent or historic, in Cumbria. Call 01228 515859 or visit

To report a crime call police on 101.

For more information on child sexual exploitation visit