CHILD sex offences have risen by more than a quarter in the county in just a year, according to a shocking new report.

Figures from the NSPCC showed that the number of reported sex crimes on children was up 26 per cent from 2015/16 to 2016/17.

The 'alarming' figures have been released as part of a nationwide survey into the number of reported sex crimes on children over the past three years.

Recorded reports of such crimes across the country have hit an all-time high, with an estimated 172 child sex-related crimes reported every day, totalling 64,667 over the course of 2016/2017.

Lancashire has seen a rise of 402 reported cases of child sex crimes, with figures rising from 1,572 to 1,974.

Described as ‘extremely concerning,’ the figures from across Lancashire also reveal that 604 of the crimes recorded in 2016/17 were against children under the age of 10, and 193 recorded offences were against children under the age of one.

Speaking about the figures, Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said: “This dramatic rise is extremely concerning and shows just how extensive child sex abuse is.

“These abhorrent crimes can shatter a child’s life, leaving them to feel humiliated, depressed, or even suicidal.

“These new figures suggest the police are making real progress in how they investigate sex offences against children.

“To help them tackle the issue going forward, we must ensure the police are equipped to work with other agencies and provide ongoing support and training to officers on the frontline.”

Despite the 26 per cent increase in crimes across Lancashire, figures have revealed that there has been a steep decline in recorded numbers of cyber crimes against children, dropping from 66 in 2015/16 to 11 in 2016/17.

Speaking about the work they do in trying to prevent these kinds of crimes, A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “We have placed considerable investment in our work in identifying and apprehending online offenders.

“This work then leads us to track and support victims who may not have come forward.”

Addressing the rise in reported cases, the spokesman said: “Some of it is in part due to more rigorous recording standards, this can be seen as a positive sign that victims feel more confident to report crimes of this nature.

“The recent national focus on historic offenders and the justice that has been achieved for those victims does improve public confidence to report crimes.

“We value that and treat all reports of sexual offences extremely seriously, especially where they involve vulnerable children.

“We would encourage anyone who has been a victim of a sexual offence, or who has concerns about a child that has been abused, to come forward safe in the knowledge that it will be investigated thoroughly and that they will be treated sensitively and professionally.”

The NSPCC is keen to remind people that despite these figures, the total number of sex offences committed against children would be much higher, as more children may not have come forward out of fear or embarrassment.

The organisation is also calling for government to direct more resources to ensure high-quality training and support is available to frontline police officers to help raise awareness of safeguarding procedures and tackle child sex offences.

Lancashire Police are now urging people to make themselves aware of the signs of sexual abuse and to feel empowered to report anything suspicious.

More advice is available at or