Rising number of historic sex abuse cases against children reported, says NSPCC
Almost 3,000 cases of historic sexual abuse against children have been recorded by police in Northern Ireland over the last four years, a charity said.
The total has risen by over 8% to 722 last year.
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 this week and has seen a dedicated NSPCC Helpline receive more than 2,500 calls.
Neil Anderson, head of NSPCC Northern Ireland, 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."
There have been 2,760 cases of historic sexual abuse against children recorded by the PSNI over the last four years.
Mr Anderson added: "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."