THERE were a shocking 69 reports of sexual assaults on children in Denbighshire last year, the Free Press can exclusively reveal.
This is more than any other county in North Wales and a higher increase from the previous year than any other county in the region.
And the children’s charity NSPCC warns the figures could be even larger than those reported.
"These shocking figures show just how many children are still being sexually abused every day,” said NSPCC head of service Des Mannion.
“It’s a grim picture, but we know the reality is far worse as there are many more offences which are never reported.”
The figures for the financial year 2011-12 are 13 per cent more than they were in 2010-11, having risen from 61.
Meanwhile, during the same period reports in neighbouring counties Flintshire, Wrexham and Gwynedd all went down by 31 per cent, 28 per cent and six per cent respectively.
In Conwy the figures went up, but only from 41 to 42.
The number of reports for Denbighshire during the last financial year was more than 30 per cent higher than any other county in North Wales and 115 per cent higher than Anglesey.
A spokeswoman for North Wales Police said the majority of recently recorded offences have taken place within the family home.
DI Lisa Surridge of the force’s public protection unit said: "North Wales Police work proactively with partner agencies to ensure the safeguarding of children in our communities.
“All reports of sexual assault are taken seriously, and positive action follows. We have recently undertaken joint operations with CEOPA (Child Exploitation Online Protection Agency) which has resulted in an increase in recorded internet offences.
“The message therefore is that if you are committing offences against children via the internet you will be caught and brought to justice.”
The figures, obtained by a Freedom of Information request by the Free Press, compare to 35 in 2009-10 in Denbighshire and 37 the year before that.
Mr Mannion said: “Some of these children may be so young they cannot protect themselves or tell anyone what is happening. So it’s vital that adults look out for them and call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000, if they are concerned.
"Some children do not speak out about the sexual abuse they have suffered because they are simply too scared. But help is always available for them through services offered to children and young people from the NSPCC such as ChildLine."
The release of the information by North Wales Police follows a special report by the Free Press earlier this month about child sex cases in the county and a subsequent article where politicians in the region called for tougher sentencing of child sex abuse perpetrators.
North Wales Police have said they would encourage any member of the public who has concerns for children to contact them directly on 101 or via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
- Stepping Stones is a registered charity offering individual counselling and group work to adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and provides an independent and confidential service.
The service is available to adults 18+ and is free of charge. Survivors can be referred by a key worker or can self-refer by contacting the office on 01978 352717.