THAMES Valley Police recorded more than 52 child sex offences on average every week last year, new figures reveal.

The 2,718 recorded offences against children in 2019/20 – including rape, online grooming and sexual assault – were up 50 per cent from 2014/15.

In the UK, there were 73,518 offences – nearly 200 crimes every single day last year.

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Figures obtained by the NSPCC also reveal that, where gender was recorded, girls were four times more likely to be victims.

There were also more than 8,000 offences against 14-year-olds, making it the most common age group to report the crimes.

In total, 12,374 sex crimes were recorded against children under the age of 10.

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Nearly 450 crimes were also recorded by police against babies yet to reach their first birthday.

The charity said the figures showed the need for an 'urgent' Government response.

In May the Home Office said it ‘will shortly publish the first of its kind cross-government Child Sexual Abuse Strategy to improve the UK’s response to tackling this abhorrent crime’.

The strategy is yet to be published three months later.

The NSPCC, The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, is now calling for the needs of children to be ‘at the centre’ of how authorities such as the police respond to child sex abuse.

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The charity heads say a focus should be on ‘effective prevention’ and ‘victims having access to timely and specialist support’.

Thames Valley Police said anybody who reports child sex crimes will be taken ‘seriously’ and will be treated with ‘dignity’.

A force spokesperson said: “The rise in the number of recorded reports may be attributed to an increase in confidence in the public to report them to the police, as well as an improvement in the way that we record these types of crimes, but also changes in the trends of offending.

“The recent Covid-19 lockdown saw an increase in online offending against children.

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“In response to this, in May 2020, the force conducted warrants at addresses across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, dedicated to disrupt those who were carrying out online child sexual abuse. A total of 37 warrants were completed, with 32 people being arrested. Also, the force seized a total of 419 electronic devices and 24 children were safeguarded.

"Other campaigns that the force has taken part in, including our Hidden Harm campaign, has helped to raise awareness of abuse happening in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, as well as undetected and unreported abuse of a person or people, including children.

"Thames Valley Police is absolutely committed to tackling the issues of child sexual offences."

If you come across child you believe could be a victim of abuse call the police on 101.

In a dangerous situation always all 999.

Alternatively, call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.