Suffolk: Children under age of nine reported to police over alleged sex crimes
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011
CHILDREN under the age of nine are being reported to police over alleged sex offences, worrying new figures show.
Figures show there were 351 sex offences allegedly committed by under-18s in the last three years in Suffolk, with 31 victims aged five or under and 125 rape reports. Nationally, some children suspected of offences were as young as five or six.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) obtained the figures following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Suffolk police.
Claire Lilley, policy advisor at the NSPCC, said: “Alarm bells should be ringing with the authorities. It is a problem that needs to be tackled urgently.
“We know that technology and easy access to sexual material is warping young people’s view of what is ‘normal’ or acceptable behaviour.
“We are treating an increasing number of children who have carried out online grooming, harassment in chatrooms and ‘sexting’.”
The findings revealed there were 82 victims – and 13 suspects – aged nine or under. A police spokesman said: “Reports of sexual offences, of any nature, are taken extremely seriously, and dealt with sensitively by police.
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“The welfare of the victim is of the utmost importance and support is offered at all stages to ensure their needs are met and that the appropriate services are provided.
“When an offence is reported that involves an offender under the age of 18, special measures are utilised to ensure that they are dealt with appropriately, with partner agencies consulted to ensure the welfare of all concerned.”