Children as young as nine years old have committed more than 100 sexual offences against their fellow under-18s in Lincolnshire.
The statistics, released by the NSPCC, show 126 child sex abuse offences committed by under-18s in the last three years in the charity.
The youngest offender was a nine-year-old boy while two of the victimes were three-year-old girls.
The vast majority - 109 - were committed by boys and 101 of the victims were girls, with 19 of those aged ten and under. Offences include sexual assault, indecent exposure and rape.
There were 62 offences in 2011/12, up from 50 in 2010/11 and 14 in 2009/10.
Nationally children as young as three have been involved in more than 5,000 offences of this nature.
Det Supt Rick Hatton, head of Lincolnshire Police’s Public Protection Unit, said “By the nature of these cases they need to be handled extremely sensitively and, as such, there are specialist teams within Lincolnshire Police which deal with reports of these offences.”
He added: “As the NSPCC reports, some of the children/young offenders come from a background of being abused themselves and ultimately the aim of all agencies is to workwith thesechildren to change their behaviour.
“Counselling and diversionary interventions have provoved to be an effective way to break the cycle and prevent further offences.”
Claire Lilley, policy advisor for the NSPCC, said: We hope our findings will ring alarm bellswith the authorities that this is a problem which needs urgent attention.”
The charity says most victims are friends or family members and warned that easy access to sexual material is ‘warping’ young people’s views of what is acceptable behaviour.
You can contact the NSPCC on 0800 8005000.
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