UK child abuse a ‘national epidemic’

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An expert has warned that a ‘national epidemic’ of sex abuse has hit Britain, with there being around 11 million victims.

According to Graham Wilmer, the person appointed as a government inquirer on this issue, his estimate is based on ‘prevalence rates published by the Government’.

Mr Wilmer is the founder of the charity for sex abuse support, the Lantern Project, and was appointed by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, as an independent panel member on the historical sex abuse inquiry.

The commencement of the inquiry has been overshadowed by the resignation of two chairmen and anger from the victims.

According to Mr Wilmer, who is an abuse victim, there are around 11.7 million victims who have not disclosed and many of them will start to present themselves. He said this is a huge problem and from his experience, if the right level of intervention and support is not offered to people at the time when they come forward, drastic health problem, both physical and mental, could be the result.

He said the child abuse figures and its effect are now being viewed as a national health epidemic.

NSPCC, the children’s charity, estimates that around one in 20 children in the UK have been sexually abused.

Since the announcement during July of the Government’s inquiry, it has been bogged down with problems. Two of its chairpersons have been forced to resign after links to the establishment placed resulted in concerns by victims as to their suitability for that role.

Theresa May has issued an apology to victims for thus far failing to find a person suitable to fill this role.

During July, Baroness Butler-Sloss, resigned as chairwoman after questions were posed about the role of her late brother, Lord Havers, who was the attorney general during the 1980s. Her replacement, Fiona Woolf, who was the Lord Mayor of London, resigned during October, after much criticism about her links to the establishment, particularly those linked to former home secretary, Lord Brittan.

Last week a number of alleged child sexual abuse victims threatened to withdraw from the inquiry into this issue unless changes are made to it by the Government, including the extension of the time it covers to further back than 1970.

Image Credit: familytreasures

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