THE number of non-recent sexual abuse offences against children recorded in Hampshire has increased by 131 per cent since 2013/14, according to a children's charity.

Nearly 2,700 cases of non-recent sexual abuse against children have been recorded by Hampshire Constabulary over the last four years, according to figures obtained by the NSPCC.

The number of recorded offences involving non-recent sexual abuse – where the offence is alleged to have occurred more than a year before it was reported to police – has increased each year, from 377 in 2013/14 to 869 in 2016/17, with 2,689 in total.

The children’s charity believes this steep rise may, in part, be down to high-profile abuse cases as well as the football abuse scandal which began a year ago.

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said: “It doesn't matter whether the sexual abuse happened a year ago or 50 years ago, it is never too late to report it. It's clear that for far too long, many people who suffered horrendously as children felt they could not speak up, were not believed or did not know who to turn to.

“Although these rising figures paint a worrying picture of widespread abuse, it is encouraging that so many are finally finding their voice in a climate today where they know they will be listened to and supported.”

“What's important now is survivors of abuse receive the support they need and that the people who carried out these vile offences are identified and finally brought to justice.”

The new figures were obtained following a series of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests submitted by the NSPCC to police forces in England and Wales and British Transport Police.

The NSPCC is encouraging people who need advice about reporting abuse they suffered in the past to contact its helpline on 0808 800 5000 for advice and support, or if they are aged 18 or under to go to Childline or 0800 1111.