Child on child sex offences have 'more than doubled' in South Yorkshire, shock figures reveal
The number of child on child sexual offences has more than doubled in the last three years in South Yorkshire.
Children's charity Barnardo's said there were around 250 reported cases in 2013 compared with about 660 last year - an increase of 164 per cent.
South Yorkshire is the eighth highest police force area in terms of percentage rise out of 43 regions asked for the figures.
Nationally, the number of alleged offences reported to police in England and Wales rose from 5,215 in 2013 to 9,290 last year - a rise of 78 per cent.
The figures, obtained by Barnardo's under the Freedom of Information Act, showed there were 32,452 reports to police of alleged sexual offences by children on other children over the four-year period - an average of more than 22 every day.
Javed Khan, chief executive of Barnardo’s, 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.
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"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."
Simon Bailey, National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for child protection, said: "We believe we can attribute these increases to more awareness and greater victim confidence. We also have to look at the possibility that more abuse is being perpetrated and if technology is facilitating this.
"These figures highlight the importance of building resilience in young people and educating them about sexual relationships. This can’t be left to chance.
"I know from my own force that we are engaging with schools more than ever to educate and raise awareness of both the different forms of abuse and how to get support. It is clear from the increase in the number of reports we are receiving how vital this work is."