Sinn Féin MLA Catherine Kelly has said new figures released by NSPCC showing a 34% rise in sexual offences against children are ‘staggering’.
The West Tyrone MLA said: “New figures released by NSPCC reveal that over 2000 cases of sexual offences against children were recorded by police in the north over the last 12 months.
“These numbers are staggering and represent more than five crimes cases every day.
“These figures show the importance of the Gillen Review into Sexual Offences and the recent Department of Justice consultation on Child Sexual Exploitation. This work must be progressed rapidly and effectively to properly support and safeguard children.
“We worked with Judge Gillen, the DOJ and the NSPCC and others on this work. Sinn Féin recommended modernising the law and improving support to protect children from this horrific abuse which often leaves long and lasting damage on the victim. They should never suffer in silence.”
“A key element of the figures is the grooming of children online. I am renewing calls on parents to carefully monitor children’s use of chat rooms and other social media platforms.
“I will be meeting with the NSPCC in the coming days to discuss these figures and the need for renewed action to protect our children and young people.”