A HUGE rise in the number of historic sex abuse offences against children has been recorded by Hampshire police.

Children's charity the NSPCC says the annual total has leapt from 377 in 2013-214 to 869 in 2016-17 - an increase of more than 130 per cent.

The figure relates to offences alleged to have been committed more than a year before they were reported.

A total of 2,689 cases of non-recent sexual abuse against children have been recorded by Hampshire Constabulary over the past four years.

Nationally, more than 60,000 cases were reported to police forces across the UK during the same period.

The NSPCC believes the increase is partly down to more victims coming forward as a result of publicity generated by high-profile cases as well as the football abuse scandal that began a year ago this week.

The figures were obtained following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to police forces in England and Wales and British Transport Police.

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: “It doesn't matter whether the sexual abuse happened a year ago or 50 years ago, it is never too late to report it.

"It's clear that for far too long, many people who suffered horrendously as children felt they couldn't speak up, were not believed or didn't know who to turn to.

“Although the figures paint a worrying picture of widespread abuse, it's encouraging that so many people are finally finding their voice in today's climate.

"They know they will be listened to and supported.

“What's important now is that survivors of abuse receive the support they need and that the people who carried out these vile offences are identified and finally brought to justice.”

Maria, 47, was sexually abused and raped by her biological father at a very young age and still feels the effects of the abuse now.

She said: “I don’t want to have a strong relationship with anyone. I’m also far too altruistic – I give so much of myself to feel good about myself – but I often feel worse. I've had breakdowns, I have depressive episodes and I’ve attempted suicide as an adult.

“I went to the police to report my father when I was 25 and the conviction has helped me recover.”

Adult victims of non-recent abuse are urged to contact police or call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000. Children can call Childline on 0800 1111.