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Scores of children commit sex crimes in North Yorkshire
SCORES of sexual offences have been committed in North Yorkshire by children aged under 18, new figures have revealed.
A total of 69 offences, including rape, were recorded by North Yorkshire Police in the last three years involving a perpetrator under the age of 18.
Some of the alleged offenders were as young as 11, said the NSPCC charity, which obtained the figures – relating to the years 2009 to 2012 – under the Freedom of Information Act.
It warned that some of the offences were related to technology and easy access to sexual material, which was warping young people’s view of what was “normal” or acceptable behaviour.
“We are treating an increasing number of children who have carried out online grooming, harassment in chatrooms and ‘sexting’,” said Claire Lilley, policy advisor at the NSPCC.
“We must do more to shield young people from an increasingly sexualised society.”
The charity said that across England and Wales, more than 5,000 offences of under-18s committing child sexual abuse were reported to the police in the three years.
A spokeswoman said 98 per cent of the offenders were boys and, where the relationship was recorded, at least three out of five of the victims knew the abuser.
“More than one third of the offences were said to have been committed by a family friend or acquaintance and one in five by family members,” she said.
“These findings follow a report by probation inspectors last month which found that police, social workers and teachers were missing the warning signs that a child may sexually offend.”
Claire Lilley said such incidents were a real cause for concern. “These figures should be ringing alarm bells with the authorities that this is a problem that needs to be tackled urgently,” she said.
“In some cases, older children are attacking younger children. In other cases it’s sexual violence within a teenage relationship.”
• Any adult worried about a child or in need of help and advice can phone the NSPCC’s helpline on 0808 800 5000. Children and young people can contact ChildLine on 0800 1111.