The specially trained team is now 14 strong, with two detective sergeants and 12 detective constables. Det Sgt Mark Statton said, “We’re increasing the size of our team to deal with those reports effectively.”
Stoke-on-Trent-based charity Savana took on 255 new cases of child sex abuse last year. Figures show three-quarters of the victims referred to Savana said a family member abused them and more than half said they did not report it to the police.
Justine Eardley-Dunn from the charity said, “Grooming and childhood sexual abuse is a bigger problem than people realise. Lots of people don’t come forward so we know that for those we do know about there’s a lot of people hidden behind that.”
A regional child sexual abuse helpline run by The Lucy Faithfull Foundation said calls had nearly doubled in the past five years and the helpline received 179 calls in 2012, up from 78 in 2007.
Both charities believe the rise is due to an increased awareness of support prompted by media reports.
Det Ch Insp Helen Jones from Staffordshire Police said, “We’d always like to see more offenders prosecuted of course, but sometimes we’re talking about young people and vulnerable adults who find it very difficult to give their version of events.”