Charity warns of Norwich child abuse increase
A Norwich Christian charity has warned that it has seen a large increase in referrals of child abuse cases, as three people were convicted of multiple offences against young children in Norwich Crown Court earlier this week, after a three-month trial of a paedophile ring in the city. Keith Morris reports.
The Magdalene Group charity, based in King Street, Norwich, offers a variety of front-line projects aimed at raising awareness and preventing the sexual exploitation and coercion of women and young people. It set up its Rose Project to combat child sexual exploitation.
Sara Plastow, young people’s services manager for the charity, told the Norwich Evening News: “We’ve seen huge demand on our services. Last year we saw an 80% increase in the number of referrals to us for those young people who have been sexually exploited, who are being sexually exploited or are at high risk of being sexually exploited.
“We tend to think that this kind of abuse doesn’t happen in our area or in more deprived areas, so it’s sometimes a shock when it does happen on the doorstep.”
The charity has supported 112 young people this year compared to 60 last year, said Sara, and they continued to work closely with the police and other agencies to try and tackle the issue, but admitted it was an ever increasing problem.
“It really is a huge problem and we don’t know the full extent of the issue,” said Sara. “One of the worrying factors around that is the use of the internet.”
The Rose Project aims to highlight the issues of child sexual exploitation and to ensure everyone has zero tolerance of adults developing inappropriate relationships with children. A dedicated team offers expertise and frontline services to ‘at risk’ young people and support for victims. Services include runaway support, befriending, targeted support and a free Helpline and Live Chat facility.
The Rose project has a confidential helpline – call 0808 800 1037.
Norfolk Police have seen referrals for child sexual exploitation more than treble in the past year up from 40 in 2013 to 145 in 2014.
Read our previous article on this topic
Article extracts from EveningNews24
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