Around nine in ten children who are victims of sexual abuse do not report it as a crime, a new report ordered by Rotherham MP Sarah Champion has found.
The report commissioned by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Victims and Witnesses of Crime, which is chaired by Ms Champion, found the number of child victims of crime is much higher than police records have previously indicated.
The publication of the research comes after the Jay report revealed at least 1,400 children had been victims of sexual exploitation in Rotherham over a 16-year period.
The research, carried out by the University of Bedfordshire, found between 87 per cent and 95 per cent of children who are sexually abused do not report it to an adult at the time.
It also found 85 per cent of children do not report thefts to the police, while many children are not always aware of what constitutes a crime.
Many children also said they worry about the repercussions of reporting crimes, while some do not trust the police.
Ms Champion called today for more to be done to educate children about being victims of crime.
She said: “I believe that there is a real duty for society to teach children about what a crime is, and what help is available to them if they have been a victim of crime.
“This could be done through incorporating teaching about crime and victimisation into PSHE lessons in schools.
“However, there is also a role for the police to play, in showing young people that they are taken seriously by officers when they are reporting a crime. Many of the children taking part in the research said that they did not feel they were able to report to the police because they did not trust them.
“This is a very serious finding and something the police must take note of as a matter of priority.
“I have worked extensively on child sexual exploitation, both in my Rotherham constituency and in Parliament. Through this, I have seen first hand that there is a long way to go until child victims are given the recognition that they deserve.
“This report highlights scale of child crime and the importance of getting the right support for child victims.”