Child grooming refers to activities of people seeking to establish an emotional connection with a minor to gain their trust in order to sexually abuse the child.
"I would say that without doubt there are thousands of families being affected today. This type of child abuse is in every town," PACE director Fleur Strong was quoted as saying by BBC Radio 4.
The head of the charity expressed concern over "a significant number" of families affected by child grooming. "I can show you families from Torquay to Exeter to Norfolk, there are families in Edinburgh, Belfast, all of them who will be suffering from this type of crime that lasts for many families for years and years," Strong said.
The spokesperson for the National Child Protection Working Group, Paul Sanford, explained that the child grooming "presents a real challenge to the police service, both in terms of finance and the number of trained and experienced personnel we need to investigate all of these cases," BBC Radio 4 reported.
The news comes amid an unprecedented number of child abuse cases in the United Kingdom. As a case in point, an inquiry by the British Children's Commissioner found out that 16,500 children were at high risk of sexual abuse, from April 2010 and March 2011.
In August, the Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council published a report on the sexual exploitation of children in the city, revealing at least 1,400 cases of abuse over the past two decades.
West Yorkshire Police reported 84 cases of alleged child grooming in the district, the Examiner newspaper informed in November.