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The number of school sex crimes in the United Kingdom topped 5,500 during the 2012-2015 academic years—the highest wave of such incidences—according to combined data from police forces in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. One-fifth of these cases were peer-on-peer abuse, with the youngest victim and suspect 5 years old.
In addition, a study from the children’s commissioner of England suggested that 85 percent of all child sex abuse cases in the country are unreported.
Jon Brown, head of Sexual Abuse Programs at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), said: “These figures are very disturbing, especially as many victims are so young and the reported offences took place on school premises. Sadly, we are not surprised as previous NSPCC research has illustrated the scale of abuse committed by young people.
“We know that for some older children, accessing hardcore pornography is warping their view of what is acceptable behaviour. And the very young—those of primary school age or even younger—may be copying sexual activity they have witnessed.”
In order to combat the increasing numbers of abuse, the government is working to make child abuse reporting mandatory in all schools.