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Thousands of victims will not even receive treatment. Child sexual abuse in UK has raised 71% in the last 3 years.
According to The Guardian, up to 10,000 victims of sexual abuse are estimated to be waiting more than a year for counselling, due to a funding crisis gripping specialist charities across the UK.
Dozens of support groups are facing closure within a year amid the twin pressures of funding cuts and thousands more victims seeking help as a result of high-profile sex abuse investigations.
Research by the Guardian found more than 1,600 people on the waiting lists of 17 charities, with the total figure estimated to top 10,000 for the 135 specialist support groups across the UK.
Charity leaders including Gabrielle Shaw, the chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC), are urging the government to commit more funding to the struggling charities, warning that services will close and victims will suffer if they do not receive urgent help.
Shaw said: “There is a crisis and it’s because of hugely increasing demand. The scale and the scope of child sex abuse that has happened in the past has to be recognised for what it is – absolutely massive.”
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE RAISED 71%
The long-awaited independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, launched by Justice Lowell Goddard in July, is expected to hugely increase the strain on small charities that already have an average of 120 people on their waiting lists. They are expecting a flood of survivors to come forward for the first time to give evidence to the inquiry, which could last five years.
According to police, there has been a rise in child sexual abuse incidents from 66,120 in 2012 to a projected 113,291 cases in 2015, which is a potential 71% increase in the overall number of cases reported to police over the last three years. Recent cases have risen by 31% and non-recent cases have risen by 165%.
Research by the Guardian also found that:
At the 17 specialist charities contacted by the Guardian, waiting lists spanned from a few months to over a year. Several bosses said they feared that by the time they are able to help people on their waiting lists, it may already be too late.
Susannah Faithfull, of the Aurora Foundation, a charity for people abused in childhood, said: “We do not know if, when we finally get to contact those victims or survivors on our waiting list, they could have taken their own lives. This is not being emotive or over the top – I wish it was.”
The funding crisis is in part due to cuts in voluntary sector grants provided by local authorities, but it has been compounded by the decision to devolve the distribution of the victims’ fund from the Ministry of Justice to the 41 police and crime commissioners in England and Wales last October.
Karen Bradley, the minister for preventing abuse and exploitation, said: “This government has prioritised funding to support victims of child sexual abuse. We have provided £1.7m a year to enable independent sexual violence advisors to work with survivors; £4.4m a year to support 86 rape support centres; and funding for a network of young persons’ advocates working with children who have experienced sexual abuse.