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Number of alleged child sex offences committed by other children almost doubles

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first_imgIn 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 20 every day.The figures relate to instances where the alleged perpetrator and victim are both aged under 18. Incidences of sexting – where sexual images are exchanged between minors – are included in the definition of sexual offences.Barnardo’s said the data, obtained under Freedom of Information rules, show the number of reported cases more than doubled in 12 force areas between 2013 and 2016.Simon Bailey, National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Child Protection, 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.”Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan said the charity warned last year that “unless child on child sexual abuse is dealt with head on, it may become the next scandal in our society”.He added: “These results are another wake up call to the extent of the problem. “We’re deeply concerned more children may be sexually harming other children.”Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani called on the Government to work with schools, local authorities, police and voluntary organisations to tackle the issue.She added: “In this smartphone age, parents must also play a vigilant role in protecting their children from harmful sexual behaviour and from harmful sexual images that cause damage they are too young to understand.”Last year a cross-party parliamentary panel said a consistent national strategy was needed for tackling growing concerns about access to extreme pornography, the sharing of naked images online and sexting. The panel’s inquiry concluded that children and young people should not be “unnecessarily criminalised” for displaying harmful sexual behaviour towards others. Credit:Getty Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Teenager checks messages on her smartphone  The number of children being investigated by police for sexual offences has almost doubled in the last four years.Children potentially face being criminalised for committing sex offences against other youngsters, an investigation found, with a rise in the use of smartphones thought to be a contributing factor. Last year there were 9,290 reports of such cases to forces in England and Wales, a jump of 78 per cent compared to 2013, according to figures obtained by charity Barnardo’s.A spokesman for Barnardo’s said: “Too often children displaying harmful sexual behaviour are treated as ‘mini sex offenders’. “Although public protection should always remain the primary driver when dealing with cases of harmful sexual behaviour  young offenders should be treated as children first and offenders second.”last_img read more

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