One out of every 35 men in Britain have paedophile tendencies, crime chiefs believe. According to analysis by the National Crime Agency (NCA), up to three quarters of a million men may have a sexual attraction to children, with 250,000 of those being “true paedophiles” – attracted to pre-pubescents.
Although two thirds of those attracted to children would never act on their urges directly, an increasing number are seeking out images of abuse online.
Phil Gormley, the NCA’s deputy director, said that although it was impossible to come up with exact figures, authorities now believe the number of men experiencing such attraction is around 750,000. The figure is based on academic research and comparisons with other countries.
Gormley told the Mail on Sunday: “Whatever the exact figure, it is big. Every day another group of young men are coming to puberty and developing this interest.”
A senior Home Office source added that the figure may seem “unfathomable” but “once you get involved in the area you realise this is such a vast problem. It is just incredible.”
However, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) warned the figure could be even higher, saying that at least one in 12 children has suffered some sort of sexual assault.
Child Sex Abuse investigations by police in England and Wales have risen by 71 per cent since 2012, with 113,000 projected cases each week. Sex offenders also make up on in six of the prison population, many of the housed in specialist jails.
Labour MP and anti-child abuse campaigner Simon Danczuk said: “This is just horrifying and gives us an indication of the size of the problem. We have to really come up with a national strategy to handle this.”