You asked

I am unable to find data from 2016 to 2017 pertaining the number of children reported to have been subject to sexual abuse in England.

The most recent data, as cited by NSPCC, from 2015 to 2016 is 54,000.

Please could you provide me with the figures for the number of children reported to have suffered from any form of sexual abuse in 2017, or 2016 to 17 whichever is most recent, in England.

If you also have data, from the same period, for those abusing children in a position of trust, that would also be most welcome.

We said

Thank you for your email requesting information on the sexual abuse of children.

We publish figures on a number of offences related to the sexual abuse of children, alongside our quarterly Crime in England and Wales publication. Here is a link to the relevant tables from our most recent release:

Appendix Tables, Year Ending September 2017

Appendix Table A4 contains the number of crimes recorded by the police for the following offences that relate specifically to the sexual abuse of children:

Offence code Offence description
19D Rape of a female child under 16
19G Rape of a male child under 16
17B Sexual assault on a male child under 13
20B Sexual assault on a female child under 13
21 Unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under 13
21 Sexual activity involving a child under 13
22 Unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under 16
22B Sexual activity involving a child under 16
71 Abuse of children through sexual exploitation
73 Abuse of position of trust of a sexual nature
74 Gross indecency with a child
88A Sexual grooming

In the year ending September 2017 there were 46,532 of these offences recorded by the police. The figures for the year ending December 2017 will be published on 26 April 2018. Please note that these figures include recorded offences for both England and Wales, rather than just England.

Some sexual offences against children will be recorded under offences not included in this list: for example, ‘Sexual assault on a female aged 13 and over’ does not cover offences where children are older than 13. This is because our figures are based on aggregated data that we receive from Home Office. There may be other offences where children are involved which we cannot separately identify, and therefore our figure is likely to be an underestimate.

Regarding the second part of your query: you can see that this list of offences includes abuse of a sexual nature committed by people in a position of trust. There were 299 of these offences recorded in the year ending September 2017.

Notes on these offences are available in the “A4 Notes” tab, published within the Appendix tables spreadsheet. Also, definitions of what a particular offence covers can be found in the Home Office Counting Rules:

Unfortunately, we are not able to provide an estimate that is directly comparable to the figure you have quoted from the NSPCC. This is partly because although the NSPCC figure is based on Police Recorded Crime (PRC) data, we do not know exactly how the figure was derived.

We are also aware of differences in the coverage of the NSPCC figure and the figure we have provided above. The figure from NSPCC relates to the whole of the UK, whereas our figure relates to England and Wales only. In addition, we have provided information on all offences recorded against children under 18, whereas we believe that some of the offences that make up the NSPCC figure relate to those experienced by children under 16 only.

NSPCC will be releasing an updated version of their “How safe are our children?” report in June 2018, so you may like to ask them if this will include a comparable updated version of the figure you have quoted.

It is important to be aware that PRC data must be interpreted with caution. There has been a large increase in the number of sexual offences recorded by the police in the last few years, however, much of this increase reflects improvements in recording practices, rather than an increase in the number of sexual offences that have been committed. In addition, data held by the police can only provide a partial picture of the level of sexual offences experienced by children because of a high level of under-reporting to the police.

Lastly, you may be interested in one of our recent publications: Sexual Offences in England and Wales. This publication makes use of data from the Home Office Data Hub. Figure 7 shows how the demographic profile of the population compares with that of sexual abuse victims.

Sexual Offences in England and Wales

We hope that the information we have given you will be useful. If you would like any information in the future, simply email us at and we will endeavour to help. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask.