Easy access to increasingly hardcore pornography and the sexualisation of childhood are being blamed for a rise in the number of children sexually abusing each other.
Growing numbers of children and teenagers are committing acts of sexual abuse against other children every year, with some as young as 11 being prosecuted for sexual offences.
Experts are calling for compulsory cyber-education programmes in all schools from primary level to stem the impact of explicit material.
Ministry of Justice figures received under the Official Information Act show that, since 2008, there have been 1299 prosecutions for sexual offences brought against young people under the age of 18.
This has risen steadily over the past five years, with 314 prosecutions last year compared to 204 in 2008. These are for offences ranging from rape to indecent assault and sexual grooming, with victims, both male and female, under the age of 16.
The youngest offender was 11. Only one of the offenders was a girl. Police say the jump in prosecutions was due to better knowledge and increased reporting of sexual abuse, rather than a rise in incidents.
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More Kids Committing Sexcual Abuse – Story by Michelle Duff
8 July 2013