THE number of incidents of child sexual abuse in North Yorkshire has increased, new figures show.
Figures released by the NSPCC, which were obtained using the Freedom of Information Act, showed 391 incidents were reported in 2013/2014, an increase of 49 from the previous year - 342 in 2012/2013.
Nationally, the number of incidents of child sexual abuse had also increase to 31,000, or about 85 reports each day in the year to the end of April 2014.
Detective Superintendent Nigel Costello from North Yorkshire Police said the increase showed people had more confidence in reporting what he called "devastating crimes" to the authorities.
He said: "However, we know that child sexual abuse is under-reported and we encourage anyone who has suffered in the past or is suffering now, to report what is happening. We have officers who are specially trained to investigate these very sensitive investigations and victims should not hesitate to come forward.
"We work with many other agencies who can provide support to help you deal with what has happened. Even if the offences happened many years ago and it may no longer be possible to take criminal action, you should still report it as you can still get support, advice and counselling that can help you move on with your life. Children's safety is of paramount importance and it is everyone's responsibility to protect them. If you are being abused, have been in the past, or suspect a child is being abused, please do not hesitate to call."
If you have been affected by child sexual abuse and do not wish to speak to the police, the York and North Yorkshire Sexual Assault Referral Centre Bridge House is available as an alternative, at turntobridgehouse.org or by phoning 01904 669 339.
North Yorkshire Police can also be contacted on 101, but in an emergency, always phone 999.