A CHILDREN’S charity claims porn could be responsible for child-on-child sex offences in Lancashire.
Freedom of Information requests carried out by the NSPCC show over 8,000 under 18s are accused of sexually abusing other children and young people.
The figures, from 38 police forces, show 168 of these cases took place in Lancashire over the past two years.
The NSPCC said most victims knew their alleged abuser, with some of the most common crimes being teenage boys abusing against female acquaintances.
Whilst most abusers were male there was a small proportion of female abusers as well as both male and female victims.
Crimes included serious sexual assaults, rape, and obscene publication offences.
Bernadette Oxley, who oversees the NSPCC in Lancashire said: “It’s deeply concerning that such a lot of children are committing sexual offences including serious assaults and rape. For very young children, such as those of primary school age or younger, we have to explore and understand the environment in which they are growing up in that has led to them behaving in this way.
“Prevention has to be the key and that is recognising warning signs early and taking swift action. It could be that they have seen sexual activity that they are just too young to understand and are copying what they’ve seen.
“We also know that for many older children, pornography is now part of life. Easy access to hard core, degrading and often violent videos on the internet is warping young people’s views of what is normal or acceptable behaviour.
“It is also feeding into ‘sexting’ where teenagers are creating and distributing their own videos and images that are illegal and have led to prison sentences.
“But these children are not beyond help. If we act quickly and children receive support such as that provided by the NSPCC’s ‘Turn the Page’ service we can stop them becoming adult sex offenders.
“And, most importantly, their victims need support to overcome what has happened to them. Sexual offences, whether committed by another child or an adult, can have lifelong consequences.”
Any adult who is worried about a child or in need of help and advice can contact the NSPCC’s helpline on 0808 800 5000.
Children and young people can contact ChildLine on 0800 1111.