The number of children committing sexual offences against other children has risen by 78% in three years, new research has revealed.
A freedom of information request by Barnardo’s found the number of alleged offences reported to police forces in England and Wales rose from 5,215 in 2013 to 9,290 in 2016.
In 12 force areas the number of reported cases more than doubled, with Warwickshire seeing a 521% increase.
The children’s charity is calling for more action to tackle the problem of children sexually harming each other, including a national inquiry into the issue.
Barnardo’s chief executive, Javed Khan said: ‘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. High quality age appropriate mandatory SRE lessons would help children recognise what a healthy relationship should look like.’