Two thirds of sexual abuse on children is committed by other young people, NSPCC finds

Child on child sex abuse is on the rise with more than 8000 cases reported since 2012, finds NSPCC study

Picture posed by model (Credit: Rex)

The number of children being sexually abused by other young people is on the rise, new figures from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) suggest.

Offences—including sexual assault, rape and obscene publication—are mostly perpetrated by males, the study shows, with the majority of victims being known to the alleged abuser.

More than 8000 under-18s were accused of sexually abusing children and other young people in the last two years. This makes up around two thirds of all reported cases of child sex abuse.

NSPCC chief Peter Wanless expressed concern about this growing problem.

“Prevention has to be the key —recognising warning signs early and taking swift action,” Wanless said.

“Easy access to hard core, degrading and often violent videos on the internet is warping young people’s views of what is normal or acceptable,” Wanless said.

The NSPCC is targeting the worrying trend with their Turn the Page service that teaches young people about appropriate sexual behaviour.

Alan Wood, president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS), has also noticed the effect exposure to an “increasingly digital world” has had on young people and their relationship with sexuality.

He said: “Children may struggle to understand boundaries as a consequence of exposure to inappropriate material such as online pornography, violent films or computer games.”

“Some young people who abuse others are themselves victims of abuse – and we must help break the cycle of victims becoming perpetrators in the future.”

The figures, obtained through Freedom of Information requests, show a snapshot of the problem.

But Matt Hopkinson at the NSPCC explained that, since data is recorded differently by different police forces year on year, the full scale of the problem is not known.

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2 Responses to Two thirds of sexual abuse on children is committed by other young people, NSPCC finds

  1. Jim Greer July 8, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

    In 2013 a Report to the Children’s Commissioner called ‘Basically Porn is Everyŵhere’ was published which reviewed the available evidence on the level of exposure to children of Internet pornography and its possible effects. There was very little in the way of conclusive evidence or indeed of any evidence at all due to a lack of research in the area. What the report did highlight was that there was very conflict bring evidence about the effect of media violence on children. Despite millions of dollars over the past few decades being poured into researching media violence effects, for every study which seems to show that it causes real life violence is matched by one that seems to show that it doesn’t. Despite this, we have here Alan Wood stating authoritatively that computer games and video violence are causing behavioural problems.
    Meanwhile the NSPCC have backed David Cameron’s plans for Internet filtering which have blocked large numbers of sites on sexual health, gay rights, women’s rights etc.. There is also the rise of state appointed ‘regulators’ such as ATVOD which is seeking to tax independent journalists into oblivion.
    It is possible that online media are having a negative impact on young people. However, there is no hard evidence to back up the claims made in this article about a causal link.It is important that a desire to protect young people from inappropriate material is not used a justification for turning control of the Internet over to Government and big media interests.

  2. Jan Cosgrove July 15, 2014 at 6:51 am #

    There is the issue that we are taking more notice of sexual relationships between children than used to be the case. Now the question is, what percentage is exploitation of one child by another and what percentage is kids experimenting, actually falling in love etc. The Dutch have a more enlightened approach perhaps on this, and there is too much prurience involved here? Children in such pseudo-consensual or de-facto consensual relationships (if you will), are they to be considered abuser/abused?

    A local young people’s information shop in Bognor a while back reported some evidence that one of the effects of young people viewing porn is the expectation of young men that young women will behave sexually like the women they are viewing, and, just as important, that some young women expect to have to conform to this new stereo-typing – shaved pubic areas etc.