NSPCC warns women abusers may slip through the net

The NSPCC says there is an urgent need for professionals to be more aware about women who sexually abuse children.

In a study published today the charity states that, although child abuse is typically seen as a male crime, 5% of all sexual offences against children are carried out by women.

It argues that child protection and criminal justice professionals need more training to heighten their awareness of the problem.

The research cites evidence to show that professional can have different perceptions and responses to female child sex offenders compared with men. It warns that this suggests the policies and procedures may not be followed in the same way leaving some children at risk.

Sex offences committed by some women are difficult for children’s services professionals to spot because they are often being carried out under the guise of childcare.

The study concludes by calling for more resources to be made available for female child sex offenders to ensure they have the same access to therapeutic treatment as men.

Dr Lisa Bunting, who works for the NSPCC and who carried out the study, said: “It may be uncomfortable to think that women with traditionally more nurturing and caring roles may commit child abuse, yet it is clear from research that we all need to be alert and aware that child sex abuse is not just committed by men.”

Females Who Sexually Offend Against Children from: www.nspcc.org.uk

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