Rise In Sex Abuse Claims In Belfast

Police in west Belfast are fielding dozens of calls from victims of sexual abuse – some dating back 20 years, it emerged tonight. The number of reported incidents rose by a quarter last year with many people alleging attacks in their own homes.

Local District Policing Partnership chairwoman Margaret Walsh warned that the incidents could be fuelling an epidemic of suicides in the greater Belfast area in recent years.

“It must be horrendous for the victims who have had to keep these incidents hidden for years.

“We have had suicides because of sexual offences and it is important that we try to prevent any of these happening in the future.”

The West Belfast DPP meeting in the city heard that there were 42 sexual offences recorded in the last nine months of 2006, an increase of 23%. Only eight of those cases have been cleared by investigators.