SHOCKING figures reveal alleged cases of children committing sexual offences against other children are rocketing in Warwickshire.
The number of reported child-on-child sex offences in the three years to 2016 has gone from around 50 to nearly 200. Children’s charity Barnardo’s obtained the figures though a Freedom of Information request, which showed Warwickshire as the county which has seen the biggest rise.
But Warwickshire Police say the rise is the result of more children reporting the crime and their awareness of sexual offences.
Det Supt Alison Davies told the Observer: “Although it is concerning to see any increase, we believe it shows that young people and the wider communities are more confident about reporting to police.
“The increased use of social media and technology by both victims and offenders is a national trend which has contributed to an increase in reports of sexual offences.
“There is also a better awareness among people of what constitutes an offence.”
Barnardo’s is calling for action to tackle the growing problem, and say compulsory sex and relationship education would better protect children and help them to understand consent.
Chief executive Javed Khan said: “Barnardo’s warned last year that unless child on child sexual abuse is dealt with head on, it may become the next scandal in our society. 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. 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.”
Warwickshire Police investigate allegations with the help of local authorities, schools, social services and specialist victim support agencies.
Det Supt Davies added: “Anyone who may have been the victim of rape or a sexual offence is reminded that if they come forward to police, they will be treated in a caring and sensitive manner.
“Any sexual offences reported to the police receive a high priority, especially those involving children.”
Across the West Midlands nearly 3,000 cases were reported, but London was the worst affected with some 5,500 incidents.