One in six people may have been sexually assaulted in ‘national epidemic’ of abuse, Government adviser warns
- Graham Wilmer said 11.7m people may have been abused in the UK
- He was appointed by Theresa May to the historic sex abuse inquiry
- Mr Wilmer set up the Lantern Project charity to support sex abuse victims
One in six people in Britain may have been sexually abused, a government adviser has warned.
Graham Wilmer – appointed by Theresa May to the controversial historic sex abuse inquiry – said there could be as many as 11 million victims in the UK.
Mr Wilmer, who set up the Lantern Project charity to support victims, said the scale of abuse constituted a ‘national health epidemic’.
Graham Wilmer was awarded an MBE by Prince Charles in January after years of campaigning for more support for sexual abuse victims
He said his estimation was based on ‘prevalence rates published by the Government’.
Mr Wilmer, an abuse victim himself, told Sky News: ‘There are potentially about 11.7 million victims out there at the moment who have not disclosed, and many of those people will start to come forward in very significant numbers.’
‘You are dealing with a massive, massive problem. From what we have seen, if you don’t provide the right level of support and intervention to support people when they come forward you see very significant health problems, mental health and physical health, which have a direct cost to us as a society.
‘We look upon child abuse and it’s impact now as a national health epidemic.’
According to Sky News, statistics show one in six boys under 16 have been sexually abused – for girls the figure is one in four. Meanwhile, children’s charity the NSPCC estimates one in 20 children in the UK have been sexually abused.
The Government’s inquiry has been dogged with problems, mainly around finding a chairman, since it was announced in July.
Mrs May has apologised to victims for failing so far to find a suitable person to fill the role.
Baroness Butler-Sloss stood down as chairwoman in July amid questions over the role played by her late brother, Lord Havers, who was attorney general in the 1980s.
Britain’s Home Secretary Theresa May appointed Mr Wilmer to sit as an independent member of the inquiry into historic sex abuse
Her replacement Fiona Woolf, the then Lord Mayor of London, resigned in October following a barrage of criticism over her ”establishment links”, most notably in relation to former home secretary Lord Brittan.
And last week a number of alleged victims of child sexual abuse have said they will withdraw from the inquiry into the issue unless the Government makes major changes to it, including extending the period of time it will cover to further back than 1970.
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