Child sexual abuse in the United Kingdom

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File:West Midlands Police.png
A West Midlands Police poster attempting to inform children about how to respond to online sexual abuse

Child sexual abuse in the United Kingdom has been reported in the country throughout its history.[citation needed] In about 90% of cases the abuser is a person known to the child.[1] However well-publicised cases in recent years have involved popular entertainers, politicians, military personnel, and other officials. Around 23,000 cases were identified during 2012/2013, the latest year for which records exist: these the figures exclude 16- and 17-year-olds, and many cases of abuse go unreported.

In 2012, celebrity Jimmy Savile (who had died the previous year) was posthumously identified as having been a predatory child sexual abuser for the previous six decades. Subsequent investigations, including those of Operation Yewtree, led to the conviction of several prominent "household names" in the media, allegations against prominent politicians (mostly deceased), and calls for a public inquiry to establish what had been known by those responsible for the institutions where abuse had taken place. An Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was announced by the British Home Secretary, Theresa May, in July 2014, to examine how the country's institutions have handled their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse.[2] The inquiry was initially constituted as a panel, but after strenuous complaints was reconstituted in 2015 as a Statutory Inquiry, giving it much greater powers to compel sworn testimony.

Among other major incidents in modern UK history, child abuse has been recorded on a substantial scale at a number of schools, hospitals, and care homes, and organised sexual abuse or sexual trafficking rings were revealed to have been active in Plymouth, Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford, Derby, Telford and elsewhere.


About 23,000 cases were recorded by police in England and Wales, in 2012/13.[3] Around 21,493 sexual offences on children were recognized in 2011/12. The statistics do not include the children aged 16 and 17.[4] Some 90% of the sexually abused children were abused by people who they knew, and about 1 of the 3 abused children did not tell anyone else about it.[1]

The true number of offences remains doubtful, generally assumed to be larger, due to expected unreported cases of child abuse.[5]

Notable incidents

Notable offenders

This is an incomplete list of notable British personalities who have been convicted of child sexual abuse. It does not include notable people, such as Jimmy Savile and Cyril Smith, who were publicly accused of abuse after their deaths.

  • Russell Bishop (1966 - ) - Convicted child molester and abductor. Arrested and convicted in the same year, 1990.[9]
  • Ronald Castree (1953 - ) - Sexually assaulted, kidnapped, stabbed an 11-year-old girl. Castree was jailed for 32 years.[10]
  • Max Clifford (1943 - ) - Leading publicist, found guilty in March 2014 of eight indecent assaults on four girls and women aged 14 to 19,[11] and sentenced to eight years in prison.[12][13]
  • Sidney Cooke (1927 - ) - Dubbed by The Guardian as "Britain's most notorious paedophile".[14]
  • Chris Denning (1941 - ) - British disc jockey. He has been jailed several times, for indecency in 1974 at the Old Bailey, 18 months in 1985, three years in 1988, three months in 1996, four years in a Czech prison in 1998 and five years in 2008. Denning regarded them to be "unfair".[15]
  • Gary Glitter (1944 - ) - Regarded by some to be the father of glam rock, Glitter is also one of the British entertainment industry's most infamous serial sex offenders. His career ended in 1999 when he was jailed for four months after admitting to a collection of 4,000 hardcore photographs of children being abused.[16] In March 2006, he was jailed again, this time in Vietnam, for sexually abusing two girls. He served almost three years in jail.[17] In 2012, he was the first person to be arrested under Operation Yewtree - the investigation launched in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.[18] This led to his conviction and jailing again in the UK for a total of 16 years for sexually abusing three young girls between 1975 and 1980.[19]
  • Rolf Harris (1930 - ) - British based Australian entertainer. In 2013, Harris was arrested as part of Operation Yewtree and charged with 12 counts of indecent assault and 4 counts of making indecent images of a child. On 30 June 2014, Harris was found guilty on all 12 counts of indecent assault and on 4 July 2014 was sentenced to 5 years and 9 months in prison for a minimum of 2 years and 10 months.[20][21]
  • Stuart Hall (1929 - ) - Radio and television presenter in North West England and nationally, who presented It's a Knockout and Jeux Sans Frontières and later reported football matches on BBC radio. He pleaded guilty in April 2013 to having indecently assaulted 13 girls, aged between 9 and 17 years old, between 1967 and 1986,[22] and was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment.[23] In 2014 he was found guilty on two further charges and was sentenced to an additional 30 months in prison.[24]
  • Antoni Imiela (1954 - ) - By March 2012, he is serving 12 years in prison.[25]
  • Jonathan King (1944 - ) - English singer-songwriter, businessman. He was convicted and jailed in 2001 for sexual abuse against boys in the 1980s.[26] King was released on parole in 2005, however he has always denied the allegations.[27]
  • William Mayne (1928 - 2010) - Author of more than 130 books. In 2004 he was imprisoned for two and a half years.[28]
  • Gene Morrison (1958 - ) - On September 2009, convicted of 13 child sexual offenses, he was jailed for 5 years.[29]
  • Charles Napier (1947 - ) On 23 December 2014, convicted of grooming and sexually assaulting 21 victims at a school where he worked. Was also Treasurer of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE).[30]
  • Graham Ovenden (1943 - ) - Known artist. On April 2013, found guilty of child sexual abuse, jailed for 2 years in October 2013.[31]
  • Geoffrey Prime (1938 - ) - Former British spy, convicted of Child sexual abuse, during the 1980s.[32]
  • Peter Righton (1926 - 2007) - Founding member of the Paedophile Information Exchange. Found guilty in 1992 of possession of obscene child pornography. Mentioned in Tom Watson MP's 2012 Parliamentary Question to David Cameron.[33]
  • Fred Talbot (1949 - ) - Former television presenter, best known for his role as a weatherman on ITV's This Morning programme. In 2015, he was sentenced to five years in prison, having been found guilty of indecent assault against two teenaged boys at the Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, where he had taught in the 1970s.
  • Ray Teret (1941 - ) - Former Radio Caroline DJ and friend of Jimmy Savile, he was convicted in 2014 of seven counts of rape and 11 counts of indecent assault during the 1960s and 1970s against girls as young as 12. He was jailed for 25 years.[34]
  • Ian Watkins (1977 - ) - Founding member and lead singer of the rock band Lostprophets. In November 2013, Watkins pleaded guilty to 13 charges, including the attempted rape and sexual assault of a child under 13.[35] He was subsequently sentenced to 29 years' imprisonment and six years on extended licence.[36]

See also

Further reading

  • Nigel Parton; Anne Stafford; Sharon Vincent; Connie Smith (2011). Child Protection Systems in the United Kingdom: A Comparative Analysis. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. ISBN 0857002546. 


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Incidence and prevalence of child abuse and neglect". NSPCC. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  2. "Ex-senior judge Butler-Sloss to head child sex abuse inquiry". BBC News Online. 8 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  3. "Facts and figures about child abuse in the UK". NSPCC. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  4. Chalabi, Mona. "Child sexual abuse: What the statistics tell us". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  5. "Why Does So Much Abuse of Children Go Unreported?". Huffington Post. 26 March 2012. 
  6. "Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham (1997 – 2013)". Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council. 26 August 2014. 
  7. "Rotherham child abuse scandal: 1,400 children exploited, report finds". BBC News. 26 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  8. "Asian rape allegations". Channel 4 News. 27 August 2003. Archived from the original on 20 June 2010. 
  9. "March over 'Babes in Wood' deaths". 10 October 2006. In 1990, Bishop was convicted and jailed for life for the kidnap, indecent assault, and attempted murder of a seven-year-old girl who was left for dead just 200 yards from her Brighton home. 
  10. "Paedophile convicted of Lesley Molseed murder - after evading justice for 32 years". Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  11. Lister, Richard (28 April 2014). "Max Clifford guilty of eight indecent assaults". BBC News. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  12. "R v Max Clifford". Crimeline. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  13. "Max Clifford jalied for eight years". BBC News. 2 May 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  14. Kelso, Paul. "Cooke admits years of child abuse". The Guardian. 
  15. "Radio 1 DJ jailed for paedophilia claims offences were consensual". The Daily Telegraph. 22 February 2010. 
  16. "Glitter jailed over child porn". BBC News. 12 November 1999. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  17. "Gary Glitter flown out of Vietnam". BBC News. 19 August 2008. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  18. "Jimmy Savile: Gary Glitter arrested over sex offences". BBC News. 28 October 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  19. "Gary Glitter jailed for 16 years". BBC News. 27 February 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  20. "Rolf Harris guilty: The moment on the witness stand he came closest to convicting himself". The Sydney Morning Herald. 1 July 2014. 
  21. "Rolf Harris jailed for five years and nine months". BBC News. 4 July 2014. 
  22. "Broadcaster Stuart Hall admits indecent assaults". BBC News. 2 May 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  23. "Stuart Hall: Sentence Doubled To 30 Months". Sky News. 26 July 2013. 
  24. Stuart Hall jailed for indecent assaults BBC News, 23 May 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  25. Greenwood, Chris (22 March 2012). "M25 rapist jailed for horrific sex attack on mother-of-two 25 years ago - decade before he went on to commit series of rapes on women and children". Daily Mail. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  26. "Pop mogul jailed for sex abuse". BBC News. 21 November 2001. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  27. "Jonathan King freed". The Guardian. 29 March 2005. 
  28. "William Mayne: Award-winning children's author whose career ended in disgrace". The Independent. 20 May 2010. 
  29. "Bogus 'expert witness' jailed for five years". Daily Mail. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  30. "Tory MP's half-brother who was known as 'Rapier Napier' by his pupils and helped run Paedophile Information Exchange is jailed for 13 years for HUNDREDS of sex assaults on young boys in the 60s and 70s". Daily Mail. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2015. 
  31. Morris, Steven (9 October 2013). "Artist Graham Ovenden jailed for two years for sexual abuse of children". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  32. 1982 Life and career of spy Geoffrey Prime, News report; Interview
  33. Hickman, Martin (25 October 2012). "Was there a paedophile ring in No 10? MP Tom Watson demands probe". The Independent. Retrieved 17 January 2015. 
  34. "Former DJ Ray Teret jailed for rapes and indecent assaults". BBC News. 11 December 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  35. "Lostprophets' Ian Watkins guilty of child sex offences". BBC News, Wales. 26 November 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  36. "Lostprophets' Ian Watkins sentenced to 35 years over child sex offences". BBC News, Wales. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 

External links