A child was sexually assaulted every 20 minutes last year in England and Wales, according to new police figures.
More than 23,000 child sex offences, or 64 a day, were recorded in 2009/10 – up 8% on the year before.
One in four of the known suspects was under 18 and one in four of the victims were aged 11 or under.
The data, which the NSPCC obtained from 43 forces, also showed that more than 1,000 of the victims were aged four or younger.
The children’s charity said it was concerned about the rise and that it was clear more services were needed to address the harmful sexual behaviour of young people, as well as adult offenders.
The Metropolitan Police, Britain’s largest force, recorded the most amount of crimes, followed by West Midlands Police and the West Yorkshire force.
Jon Brown, who leads on child sex abuse for the NSPCC, said:
“Thousands of people come forward every year to report sex crimes against children.
“But many victims are too young to ask for help. Others are too scared to tell anyone about their suffering until years later.
“The rise in recorded sex offences against children is a real concern and we need to find ways to help victims and change the behaviour of young offenders.
“More than 2,000 suspects in these cases were under 18. It’s clear we need more services that address the harmful sexual behaviour of young people, as well as adult offenders.
“We urge everyone to be vigilant and report any concerns they have about a child.”
- Child sex crime ‘every 20 minutes’ (mirror.co.uk)
- Kids At Risk | How The Government Is Not Protecting Our Children (innocentvoicesuk.com)
- Surrey man arrested on numerous sex-related offences, child-porn possession (theprovince.com)
- NSPCC child protection hotline receives record number of calls (guardian.co.uk)
- Man jailed for six years for child sex abuse (menmedia.co.uk)
- Primary Teacher Admits 36 Child Sex Offences (news.sky.com)
- Internet porn ‘encourages sex offenders’ (telegraph.co.uk)
- ‘Rapid rise’ in child abuse cases (bbc.co.uk)
- Repeat offender found guilty of child porn charges (cbc.ca)