Since launching at the end of June 2013, the NSPCC's FGM helpline has received over 700 contacts from the public and professionals, nearly 300 have been so serious they have been referred onwards. One call involved a member of the public who had called with concerns for a young child who was absent from school for a few months for a holiday in Nigeria. Suspicions arose as the child's mother gave varying explanations for the absence and on her return to school the child's demeanour and mood had changed and she complained about painful toilet trips.
Instrumental quite rightly reminds us that no matter how offenders try to excuse their appalling behaviour it is never the child's fault - the survivor has absolutely nothing to apologise for. But the road to recovery is frequently bumpy, sometimes tortuous but always worth the journey, which is why we need far more investment in therapeutic and mental health services.
As today's NSPCC report has uncovered, sexual abuse of children is on the rise, but what is perhaps more frightening is that these figures are likely to be much lower than the reality. So many children hide their experiences for a long time - and some never come forward at all. The modern world and its advances has brought us many advantages, but with them have come new dangers...
Child abuse comes in many forms - from neglect to physical, online to sexual - and at the heart of tackling it lies a need to provide a loving and supportive environment for all children. Listening to them properly when they need to be heard and then helping to equip them with an understanding of abuse and develop resilience against it. Preventing abuse before it can take hold is how, together, we will end cruelty to children.
More than a year ago there was a meeting of social media companies to take a look at these issues. But that initial eagerness to make progress has dissipated without any major progress being made. We have just re-elected a new government and now is the time for a renewed mandate and focus because I strongly believe this matter is too serious to be ignored.
Chances are that if you have a child approaching their 'tweens' they will soon be clamouring for a) a mobile phone b) a social media account c) a games console - all of which could enable them to chat to complete strangers anywhere in the world. The days of a family PC in the corner of the living room are long gone.
We know porn can be a difficult subject to talk about but young children have easy access to it - long gone are the days when this material was confined to the top-shelf of a newsagents. Children who are trying to learn about sex and relationships can access unlimited porn online, for free, 24 hours a day.
Since the sickening crimes of Jimmy Savile were revealed in October 2012 the NSPCC helpline has received an unprecedented number of calls from adults talking about non-recent abuse. Over 4500 courageous adults have contacted our practitioners over the past two years, to report concerns and to get advice - over 30 per cent of these cases have been so serious that they have had to be referred to the police.
If we are going to protect children from sexual abuse we must make sure that anyone who recognises they have a problem, and want help to make sure they don't harm a child, is supported in getting treatment. I don't think you can 'cure' someone of paedophilia but you can use therapy to help them control their urges.
Whether or not there are more papers to be found, I would encourage anyone with further information about past child abuse crimes to come forward. If your testimony can bring child abusers to justice and better protect children today, please speak up. Now is the time.... History will go on repeating itself until we learn one simple lesson - look out for and listen to children. They, in their own way, always tell us what is going on. We must all be ready and willing to take them seriously. In establishing an Inquiry with all necessary powers to get at the truth of what went on in the past, let's not take our eye off the ball for today's children. If you know or suspect abuse of a child please speak up, to us or to the police. Do it now.
Earlier this year a conversation with an MP was the catalyst that led me to realise there was a major flaw in the laws designed to protect children from sexual abuse. The teenage daughter of a constituent had been sent a series of text messages by an older man. The messages had started off innocently enough but then became more sexual in tone...