Furthermore, conviction rates only tell us about cases that actually make it to court, and according to one expert, Hilary Aldridge
, the large majority of all cases of sexual abuse aren't even reported - as many as 90 per cent, she
says - let alone put before a judge.
In the unlikely event that a case of sexual abuse is reported, there is still a long and arduous process to go through in order to get it to court.
Aldridge is the chief executive of the Lucy Faithfull foundation, one of the few organisations in the UK which works solely with female abusers.
works on a daily basis with offenders in cases referred to her
organisation by the family and criminal courts.
explains how tricky it can be to get a case of child abuse to court.
"In the first instance, a child has to first come forward and tell someone what is happening, which is often extremely difficult for them to do," she
And such closed-mindedness is rife in the criminal- justice system too, Hilary Aldridge
confirms: "There is a tendency in the courts to see the woman as a victim of a male counterpart.
But this isn't always the case by any means.
Even when there is a male co-offender, this doesn't automatically mean that the female partner is an unwilling accomplice.
Indeed, one of the most disturbing aspects of child abuse committed by women is that - according to studies by independent researchers and highly respected charities - the large majority of it takes place in the home.
asserts that 60 per cent of cases take place within the family unit - and "women who abuse children regularly do so in the guise of normal, basic care".