There were fifty recorded child sex offences a day in England and Wales last year, according to figures published by the NSPCC.
Statistics obtained by the charity from 42 police forces showed offences occured on more than 20,000 occasions.
Over 800 cases involved children aged four and under, and victims were ten or younger in nearly one in four cases.
The highest number of offences were committed against children in their early teens. The figures showed 7,622 victims were aged 13-15.
But the NSPCC said the figures did not provide a full picture of the number of child victims as the police only gave the Home Office broad age ranges for recorded offences.
The charity called on the government to collect and publish more information including the specific ages of victims so the extent of the problem could be fully analysed.
NSPCC director of public policy Phillip Noyes said the figures were “only a snapshot” and warned there were many more abused children whose experiences did not come to light. He called for the government to improve their strategy for preventing abuse and developing services.
“Clearly, very young children who are sexually abused can’t speak out and it’s currently very difficult to get a clear understanding of how many child sex abuse victims there are. If we are able to get these details every year it will start to build a more accurate picture of what is happening and we can make more concerted efforts to protect children,” he added.
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