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Grooming offences rise at an alarming rate in Essex

Crime / Thu 19th Oct 2017 at 03:02pm

GROOMING

GROOMING offences against children have risen an alarming 64 per cent across England and Wales in just one year, new statistics show.

Home Office figures issued by the Office for National Statistics showed there were 1,771 grooming offences recorded in the year to June, up from 1,080 in the previous year. Sexual Grooming was one of the most-increased recorded offences over that period.

In the East of England, 217 grooming offences were recorded in the year to June this year, up from 186 in 2015-16.

From April this year a new offence making it illegal to send a sexual message to a child came into force after a two-year delay, following the NSPCC’s Flaw in the Law campaign. The recorded grooming offences also include the crime of Meeting After Grooming, which former England Footballer Adam Johnson was convicted of after meeting a 15-year-old fan, with whom he had exchanged sexual messages on WhatsApp.

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: “This is an enormous rise in recorded grooming offences over such a short period, and the fact that records of grooming offences have increased substantially more than most other crimes shows the need for urgent action.

“More young people are speaking up about sexual grooming, and it’s vital that now more than ever police are given the training and the resources to tackle this issue. Groomers need to be stopped before they go to meet their victim, and following the NSPCC’s Flaw in the Law campaign police now have the tools they need to intervene before abuse escalates.

“We all have a part to play in keeping children safe online. The NSPCC’s Net Aware website has useful tools for parents about popular new websites, how to set up privacy controls and how to talk to children about online safety.”

Young people affected by grooming can contact Childline on 0800 11 11.

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