The number of child on child sex offences has risen by almost 80% shocking new figures have revealed.
Recorded cases of children committing sexual offences against other children increased by 78 per cent in England and Wales between 2013 and 2016, figures obtained by Barnardo’s shows.
Last summer the children’s charity warned that child on child sexual abuse threatened to become the next major child protection issue. It backed calls for a national inquiry to examine the issue and urged government to develop a national strategy to tackle it.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan said: “We’re deeply concerned more children may be sexually harming other children. We know this can be because they’ve been abused themselves and may not have received the right support to help them recover.”
“An estimated third of sexual abuse is carried out by children. Rehabilitating children so they don’t go on to harm others is vital to preventing further sexual abuse. High quality age appropriate mandatory SRE lessons would help children recognise what a healthy relationship should look like.”
The number of alleged offences reported to police forces in England and Wales rose from 5,215 in 2013 to 9,290 in 2016. The figures showed that in total, there were 32,452 reports to police of alleged sexual offences by children on other children over the four year period – an average of more than 22 every day.
In fact the charity warns that the true number is likely to be higher because seven of the 43 forces in England and Wales either did not respond or provided only a partial response.
Barnardo’s figures show that:
- In Warwickshire there was a rise of 521 per cent.
- There was an increase of 371 per cent in Norfolk
- The rise in Lincolnshire was 345 per cent.
The forces with the highest number of reported offences were:
- The Metropolitan Police with 5,470 offences
- West Yorkshire with 3,192 offences
- Greater Manchester had 3,024
- West Midlands had 2,876 and
- Kent had 1,678 offences
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Child Protection and Chief Constable of Norfolk police, Simon Bailey said: “We believe we can attribute these increases to more awareness and greater victim confidence. We also have to look at the possibility that more abuse is being perpetrated and if technology is facilitating this.
“These figures highlight the importance of building resilience in young people and educating them about sexual relationships. This can’t be left to chance.
“I know from my own force that we are engaging with schools more than ever to educate and raise awareness of both the different forms of abuse and how to get support. It is clear from the increase in the number of reports we are receiving how vital this work is,” he added.
Barnardo’s is urging age-appropriate compulsory sex and relationship education (SRE) to better protect children and help them understand consent, respect and what a healthy relationship should look like.