It's never too late to report it - that's the message from one children's charity as new figures reveal more than 600 cases of non-recent sexual abuse have been recorded by Dorset Police over the last four years.

The number of recorded offences involving non-recent sexual abuse – where the offence is alleged to have occurred more than a year before it was reported to police – has increased from 110 in 2013/14 to 219 in 2016/17.

Figures obtained by the NSPCC reveal that nationally numbers have almost doubled from 10,493 in 2013/14 to 20,410 in 2016/17.

The children's charity believes this steep rise may, in part, be down to high-profile abuse cases as well as the football abuse scandal which began a year ago.

The NSPCC hope the increase in cases recorded by police will reassure survivors they will be listened to and will see law enforcement taking swift action to bring the perpetrators to justice.

A Dorset Police spokesman said: "The ongoing rise in the recording of sexual offences against children is a national trend and is reflected in Dorset.

“Protecting children is a force priority and a very important area of policing and partnership working.

“We have dedicated teams such as the Child Sexual Exploitation Team, Child Abuse Investigation Team and Paedophile Online Investigation Team and officers and staff receive specific training to ensure an awareness and understanding of these often complex crimes which affect some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

“High profile national investigations have also raised awareness in sexual offences against children and there has been an increase in confidence of victims reporting such crimes to police, including non-recent sexual offences.

“We continue to support multi-agency efforts towards education and awareness campaigns, encouraging victims and anyone with information about those types of offences to come forward and access support.”

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, added: “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 could not speak up, were not believed or did not know who to turn to.

“Although these rising figures paint a worrying picture of widespread abuse, it is encouraging that so many are finally finding their voice in a climate today where they know they will be listened to and supported.”

“What's important now is 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.”

Any adult who is the victim of non-recent abuse is urged to report it to the police or contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 for advice and support. Children can contact Childline on 0800 1111.