“You’re up against a fucking army of child sex abusers… A culture that wants to bury it’s head in the sand and attack anyone that dares to highlight the problem. The British people are collectively a sick, depraved nation that will not face up to the truth in regards to the epidemic of child sex abuse”
I spent years researching it… Highlighting it… Calling for action… Calling on the PM and Home Sec… … The British people set out to destroy me.
Police uncovering ‘epidemic of child abuse’ in 1970s and 80s
PM told to say sorry for remark about ‘spaffing’ money up wall as 4,024 claims lead to guilty verdictsV
Vikram Dodd Police and crime correspondent
Wed 5 Feb 2020
Police say they are uncovering a hidden “epidemic” of paedophile abuse in the 1970s and 1980s, with thousands of allegations leading to convictions against people who abused their power to attack children.
New figures seen by the Guardian show that 4,024 allegations led to guilty verdicts at court after police investigations since 2014 into decades-old child sex offences.
Officers say hundreds of offenders, including teachers, religious workers, youth and care workers, thought they had got away with their crimes. Many victims have been traumatised, and some have killed themselves or been left with severe mental health problems.
Police believe the figures, which show that 35% of all allegations led to guilty verdicts, demonstrate that inquiries into non-recent sexual abuse are not “spaffing money up the wall”, as Boris Johnson last year claimed. Labour said Johnson should apologise to victims.
Officers believe there are many more allegations to come, and Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the national lead for child protection and abuse investigations, told the Guardian: “We are now having to come to terms, as a society, and we are going to have to recognise and accept, that during the 1970s and 1980s in particular, there was widespread sexual abuse of children taking place.
“These allegations and the vast majority of cases were never reported to the authorities. Some victims did not think they were going to be believed. There was one constant factor: there was an abuse of power … to satisfy their sexual desires.”
Among those convicted were care home boss John Allen, 78, jailed for 14 years for attacking five child victims between 1976 and 1984, Timothy Mawer, 51, a badminton coach jailed for abusing seven victims in the 1980s and 90s, and John Clifford Davies, 61, a children’s home worker jailed for 24 years for a string offences in the 1970s and 80s.
The national operation coordinating claims of non-recent child sexual abuse began in 2014 and is called Operation Hydrant. It began after the Jimmy Savile scandal prompted more victims to come forward.
Since Hydrant’s launch, 7,000 suspects have been identified, with 11,346 allegations of attacks received from 9,343 victims, all concerning sexual abuse of children. Some claims date back to the 1940s.
Of the alleged offences, 47% were not investigated by police, in over a third of these cases because the suspect was dead. In a fifth of discontinued claims, suspects could not be identified. More than one-third of the allegations resulted in convictions at court, with 6% resulting in acquittal.
The conviction rate comes despite cases from long ago being harder to investigate because of fewer, if any, forensic clues.
Some paedophiles who had escaped justice were convicted of multiple attacks, with one found guilty of 78 offences, based on allegations made by 10 victims. It is the first time Operation Hydrant has released conviction figures for non-recent child sexual abuse. Bailey, who is chief constable of Norfolk police, said: “There was an epidemic of it in the 1970s and 1980s. We do not understand the true scale of it. There is a lot to come out. There are a lot more victims who are yet to come forward.
“The really difficult thing to come to terms with is the untold damage that’s been done to victims and survivors. Some could not cope. It’s the toll that it has taken on their lives. Some victims committed suicide. Some coped, some are in the mental care system. The horrors bestowed on these children are horrific.”
Contemporary cases of child sexual abuse are also rising. “Policing today is having to deal with the sins of the past,” the chief constable said, with some paedophiles who offended in the past still presenting a danger today.
Bailey said: “It is crucial we continue to listen to the voices of those abused and investigate allegations thoroughly and impartially, irrespective of when the offence took place.”
In March 2019, Johnson, while foreign secretary, tried to deflect criticism about police cuts and told LBC radio: “I think an awful lot of money, an awful lot of police time, now goes into these historic offences and all this malarkey, and you know £60m I saw has been spaffed up the wall on some investigation into historic child abuse? What on earth is that going to do to protect the public now?”
Reacting to the new figures, Louise Haigh, Labour’s policing spokesperson, said: “These were utterly sickening crimes, and, despite being shamefully undermined by the prime minister, the police have operated with integrity and the utmost professionalism in bringing perpetrators to justice in these cases.
“Those victims of child sexual abuse have seen a lifetime of torment now end in convictions. The prime minister should have the decency to look them in the eye and apologise for claiming it was a waste of money.”
Disastrous cases such as Operation Midland, where the Metropolitan police fell for the lies of a fantasist as they pursued bogus claims against high-profile figures, led to some scepticism about the need to pursue non-recent cases.
Police say “persons of public prominence” make up 3% of suspects and include 44 politicians, mostly at a local level, 60 people from the entertainment industry, 31 from music and 30 from the world of sport.
Allegations flooded in after the Guardian revealed claims of an abuse cover-up in football after Andy Woodward bravely came forward. A government inquiry into child sexual abuse and claims of a cover-up continues.
Gabrielle Shaw, of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said: “We know from what victims and survivors tell us that being able to report what happened to the police is healing for many people, sometimes even when a case cannot be pursued. Thirty-five percent of offenders brought to justice for non-recent abuse is very encouraging.”
• If you feel you need help then the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC) provides support to adults who experienced abuse as a child. Their number is 0808 801 0331.
• In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.
More than 3 million adults in England and Wales were victims of child sexual abuse, new figures show
One in seven adults who experienced child abuse say they hadn’t told anyone about it before, prompting concerns about under-reporting of abuses against children today
More than 3 million adults in England and Wales were victims of child sexual abuse, new figures show, prompting fresh concerns about under-reporting of the issue among children today.
Data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows around one in 13 adults aged 18 to 74 years – 2.4 million women and 709,000 men – were victims of sexual abuse before the age of 16.
This includes rape or assault by penetration (including attempts), other contact sexual abuse, and non-contact sexual abuse.
The ONS has been working to produce a comprehensive picture of child abuse in the UK by incorporating questions into the Crime Survey for England and Wales and analysing this alongside other sources of data.
- 690 children identified as being at risk of domestic abuse each day
- Hundreds of abuse allegations in child prisons as restraint soars
- More than 40 arrested over child sex abuse allegations in Rotherham
It found that overall, around one in five adults today had experienced a form of child abuse – which includes sexual and physical abuse, as well as neglect and emotional abuse – before they turned 16.
The Independent revealed last month that almost 19,000 suspected victims of child sexual exploitation were identified by local authorities in 2018-19, up from 3,300 five years before.
Campaigners said the true figure was far higher and accused the government of failing to tackle child sexual exploitation, despite promises made after high-profile cases in Rotherham and Rochdale.
The latest ONS report highlights that many cases of abuse had previously remained hidden, with around one in seven adults who phoned one of the national child abuse helplines saying they hadn’t told anyone about the abuse before.
Andrew Fellowes, public affairs manager at the NSPCC, said that while the ONS report exposed the scale of past child abuse, it also highlighted that the authorities “simply do not know how many children are suffering right now”.
He said this “hampered” the ability of charities to plan and fund services to help youngsters recover at an early stage, adding: “It’s crucial government conducts a prevalence study so we get a true picture of the scale of abuse in the UK. Only then will we know what services are needed to protect and support abused young people.”
Ian Dean, director of the Centre of expertise on child sexual abuse (CSA), said the findings highlighted the “limitations” of the data on child sex abuse currently available for analysis, saying: “This data does not tell us about current levels of abuse or the full scale of the issue as abuse is often hidden from view.
“They are most likely the tip of the iceberg, with most sexual abuse remaining hidden and only reported years after it occurs, if it is reported at all […] Without this information, agencies are making decisions in a fog, using limited or old data that hampers their ability to target responses effectively and provide the best possible support for children.”
Previous figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales has revealed that more than half of child abuse victims experience domestic abuse in later life.
Alexa Bradley, of the Centre for Crime and Justice at ONS, said: “Child abuse is an appalling crime against some of the most vulnerable in society, but it is also something that is little discussed or understood. Today’s release is ONS’s first attempt to fill an important evidence gap on this critical issue.
“Measuring the extent and nature of child abuse is difficult because it is usually hidden from view and comes in many forms. Bringing data together from different sources helps us better understand both the nature of child abuse and the potential demand on support services.”