The number of sexual offences against children in Lincolnshire soared by 66% in one year, according to latest figures by the NSPCC helpline.
In response to a Freedom of Information request, Lincolnshire Police revealed that 423 sexual offences against children were recorded in 2013-14, compared with 254 the year before.
Last year, the NSPCC helpline received around 95 contacts specifically about sexual abuse from the Lincolnshire police force area, of which more than half were serious enough to be referred on to other agencies.
There were 326 offences committed against girls, four times higher than the 83 offences against boys. Some 37 of the victims were children aged 5 and under.
NSPCC Chief Executive, Peter Wanless, said: “These figures are disturbing and clearly illustrate child sexual abuse is a continuing and widespread problem that needs urgent action.
“But we know this is still only a fraction of the true number of victims because some endure an agonising wait of many years before telling anyone – and others never reveal what has happened to them.
“It’s time to throw down the gauntlet to government which has to ensure all sexual abuse victims get specialist treatment to help them recover. By the end of this current Parliament there should be no children living in the shadow of abuse.”
The figures are revealed as the NSPCC launches its third state of the nation annual report, How safe are our children? at the charity’s annual conference in London .
Last year, the NSPCC’s services centres helped 2,400 young victims across the UK through its therapeutic recovery programme, but the charity says that there are not enough services available across the UK to ensure all children who have experienced abuse get the support they need.
In March, Lincolnshire Police launched their mission to stamp out child sexual abuse, shining a spotlight on the signs of abuse.
Anyone affected by the issues highlighted can talk to professionals anonymously via freephone numbers:
Lincolnshire Children’s Services: 01522 782111
Out of Hours: 01522 782111
Childline: 0800 11 11
NSPCC: 0808 800 5000