THE BLOG
22/10/2015 17:13 BST | Updated 22/10/2016 06:12 BST

Not All Sex Offenders Are Celebrities

Years of hard campaigning have helped create a better environment for them to come forward. Having opened the public's eyes to the persistent levels of sexual assaults on children - over 31,000 recorded by police in England and Wales last year - it would be a travesty if victims are forced back into silence, fearing they will not be believed when they speak up."

There can't be many people unfamiliar with the name Leon Brittan.

But can you recall the names of those found guilty of grooming and abusing- in the most horrendous ways - young girls in Oxford, Rotherham and Rochdale? Or the woman jailed for life for her part in a paedophile ring which 'raffled' young children at sex parties?

Probably not.

So while the cries of 'witch-hunt' are hurled in regard to high-profile abuse investigations the pursuit of crimes against children committed by the virtually anonymous continues to plough a dark furrow through our justice system.

On average over 4,000 people a year are convicted of sex offences against children. Official statistics don't show how many of those offenders were 'celebrities' but it would seem highly likely the vast majority weren't.

A cursory trawl of recent court cases involving those found guilty of possessing child abuse images reveals they come from all backgrounds. There is a policeman, teacher, nursery worker, librarian, priest, coach driver, prison officer, mayor, psychiatrist, civil servant, photo -shop assistant and so it goes on.

People in ordinary jobs with no claim to fame.

It's uncomfortable how a media lens can distort our view of child abuse through a handful of high profile cases. While I'm delighted that the jailing of Stuart Hall, Max Clifford, Rolf Harris and the like show that no one is above the law, we must never forget the victims of 'non-celebrity' sex crimes who are receiving far less attention. Their experiences are just as horrendous and their stories need to be heard as they rightly seek justice.

And if doubts about a specific high-profile case or two are amplified, it is essential that public confidence in pursuing child abusers is not undermined.

It takes enormous courage to speak out about something which may have left deep mental scars. We know from the thousands of calls made to our helpline that many survivors who could not bring themselves to talk about the abuse for many years have begun to do so.

Years of hard campaigning have helped create a better environment for them to come forward. Having opened the public's eyes to the persistent levels of sexual assaults on children - over 31,000 recorded by police in England and Wales last year - it would be a travesty if victims are forced back into silence, fearing they will not be believed when they speak up.