It is likely that more child-abuse cases like the recent Rotherham grooming scandal will come to light, one of the most senior police officers in the UK has claimed.
Simon Bailey, Chief Constable of Norfolk Police claims that the problem is far bigger than had been previously thought with up to 600,000 children having suffered sexual abuse at some point according to the National Household Survey of Adverse Childhood Experiences.
According to the Guardian he claimed: “We don’t know for sure. But I think it’s tens of thousands of victims of an appalling crime.” He also claimed that other professionals, including teachers and doctors, should take more responsibility over detecting signs of abuse, saying that child sex crimes have for “too long been a hidden crime.” Bodies representing these professions hit back, saying that they were “not social services or the police.”
However, he also claims that the focus on grooming gangs is detracting from wider abuse in society. “[It] is rather overshadowing a far, far, bigger picture, and that bigger picture is that 90 percent of child sexual abuse takes place in the home where crimes are being perpetrated upon victims by people they know already. It is really important that we get some context around this.”
Following the revelation of the abuse of around 1,400 girls at the hands of gangs in Rotherham a number of agencies including the police, social services, teachers and the medical profession were heavily criticised in a report by Alexis Jay.