Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Over 3,500 people contacted the NSPCC’s helpline for help in 2016
The number of people contacting the NSPCC’s helpline about child abuse hit a record high in 2016.
The charity saw a 20% increase in phone calls and an increase of more than 20% in online enquiries.
It said a national inquiry into historic child abuse and a spate of high-profile cases of child sexual exploitation in Britain were driving the increase.
Experts say victims should not be afraid to speak out or to be supported.
In 2016, 3,572 people contacted the helpline for help with abuse suffered as children – the highest number since the charity started keeping track of the data, according to its latest annual report.
That is roughly a quarter of the total of those who contacted the charity about the issue in its previous annual report in 2014.
The latest figures include a total of 2,464 phone calls and 232 written online queries from people who feared for the welfare of a child – a number that has more than doubled since 2012.
The charity’s chief executive Peter Wanless said: “We are really pleased to see a continued rise in abuse-related calls to the NSPCC.
“Too many of our children, families and communities continue to be exposed to abhorrent abuse from adults who know how to abuse children.
“When children are forced to suffer abuse, it harms not only them but also their families, communities and country.
“This is often the case for victims of child sexual exploitation, which needs to be addressed as a whole. However, this is just one more abuse that can be prevented.
“Victims need to know that survivors need support and that they are not alone.
“We are proud to support people in speaking out, reporting abuse and looking after the most vulnerable members of our communities.”
He added that the NSPCC will be present at every one of the UK’s local councils from next month.
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