UNITED KINGDOM: In some shocking reports, it was found that children sexually abusing other children has doubled in the two years to 2019, according to police figures obtained by a BBC probe.
Transcontinental Times learned from the BBC Panorama programme – following up on research from 2017, police recorded almost 8,000 reports of abuse among under-18s in England and Wales.
Yearly reports have risen to between 15,000 and 16,000, but during the pandemic — cases fell in 2020-21.
In about 10% of reported cases, the alleged abuser was aged 10 or under.
Figures collated from the Freedom of Information (FOI) responses of 38 police forces between April 2016 and March 2017 showed there were 7,866 reports of sexual abuse among children.
Two years later, in 2018-19, the number of reports had doubled to 16,102. From 2019 to 2020, there were 14,915 cases.
Although a dip in cases was noted in the latest full year of data, 2020-21 — 10,861 reports of abuse were made. The figure comes despite months of lockdown and closed schools across the U.K. due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
About nine in 10 of the alleged abusers were boys, analysis of the new figures shows. And the abuse was carried out on girls in about eight in 10 cases.
Out of the 43 police forces, thirty-four in England and Wales responded to FOI requests asking for the number of sexual offences reports, including rape and sexual assault, where both the alleged offender and victim were under 18.
The figures did not include the online offence of non-consensual sharing of private sexual images or videos.
The Labour MP and former teacher, Emma Hardy, said: “I still think that those figures might be an underestimation of the extent of the problem because not all cases ended up going to the police. Not all things are reported.”
Dr Rebekah Eglinton, chief psychologist for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, said unwanted touching and being pressured into sharing nude photos, had become a part of everyday life for children “to the point where they wouldn’t bother reporting it”.
“What children have said to us is that sexual violence is now completely normalised through social media platforms [and] through access to online pornography,” she told Panorama.