Shock as young Dorset children quizzed over sex offences

Shock as young Dorset children quizzed over sex offences

NET NOT WORKING: Easy access to the internet is contributing to problems

Sharon Copsey, NSPCC head of service for the South West

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

THIRTEEN Dorset children as young as 12 have been questioned over rape allegations.

Figures obtained by the Echo show that 33 youngsters aged up to 15 have been spoken to by police since 2011 on suspicion of a number of sexual offences.

One child, aged 13, was charged and a further five received a caution, warning or reprimand.

The ‘shocking’ figures have prompted calls for parents to be more vigilant as children as young as seven are being exposed to explicit images online, having a ‘major impact’ on their behaviour.

It follows NSPCC research released yesterday, which shows that across the UK, 8,000 under-18s have been accused of sexual offences in the last two years.

The charity says easy access to explicit material on the internet is ‘warping’ young people’s views of what is normal.

Sharon Copsey, NSPCC head of service for the South West said: “It’s deeply concerning that thousands of children are reported as committing sexual offences including serious assaults and rape.

“Prevention has to be the key and that is recognising the warning signs early and taking swift action.

“We 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.

“And for very young children, such as those of primary school age or younger, we have to question the environment in which they are growing up that has led to them behaving in this way.

“It could be that they have seen sexual activity that they are just too young to understand and are copying what they’ve seen.”

Children under 10 cannot be prosecuted in England and Wales because they are below the age of criminality.

The NSPCC says most victims knew their alleged abuser, with some of the most common crimes being teenage boys abusing female acquaintances.

Whilst they found in their investigation that most abusers were male, there was a small proportion of female abusers as well as both male and female victims.

But whilst these acts are deeply concerning, this behaviour can be turned around if caught early, experts say.

“These children are not beyond help,” said Sharon.

“If we act quickly and children receive therapy 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.”

Simple rule for the young

Parents can help keep younger children safe by teaching them the ‘Underwear Rule’ which is a simple, effective and age-appropriate way of telling children what behaviour is and isn’t acceptable. Parents simply tell their children that the area covered by their underwear should never be touched by anyone else.

And older children should be taught about consent and ensuring they know they can speak out if anything makes them uncomfortable.

Any adult worried about a child or in need of help and advice can contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.

Children and young people can contact ChildLine on 0800 1111.

Facts & figures

The number of children questioned over allegations of sexual offences:

Exposure: 7 (three aged 13, two aged 14, two aged 15)

Rape: 13 (one aged 12, three aged 13, three aged 14, five aged 15)

Sexual activity:7 (two aged 13, three aged 14, five aged 15)

Sexual assault: 6 (one aged 14, five aged 15)

Outcomes: Charged: 1 (aged 13)

Caution/ reprimand/ warning: 5 (two aged 13, two aged 14, one aged 15).

County is in line with UK

Peter Bradley, director of services at Kidscape, said: “These local figures are shocking but not surprising.

“Without doubt Dorset statistics will be in line with other counties and contributes to the 8,000 under-18s who were accused of sexual offences against other children in the last two years.

“We now live in an age where children are exposed to hard core, violent pornography from a very early age. Kidscape has spoken to children as young as seven who have seen adult websites, games and have been sent naked images on their phones. It is very disturbing.

“Little research has been done on the impact of children viewing such images but it does not need years of empirical studies to tell us this is having a major impact on some children’s sexual behaviour.

“It is astounding to know that up to two thirds of contact sexual abuse on children is committed by other young people.

“Parents, schools and politicians all have an important role to play in ensuring children are not losing their childhoods.

“Kidscape believes we need to educate and inform children and young people about these dangers and help give children the skills necessary to avoid being a perpetrator or victim of sexual harm.”

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:39am Tue 8 Jul 14

JamesYoung says...

I find this statement alarming:
“It could be that they have seen sexual activity that they are just too young to understand and are copying what they’ve seen.”
A more likely explanation is surely peer pressure, including pressure from older kids.
Are we going to see social services messing people's lives up because a child is caught texting now?
I find this statement alarming: “It could be that they have seen sexual activity that they are just too young to understand and are copying what they’ve seen.” A more likely explanation is surely peer pressure, including pressure from older kids. Are we going to see social services messing people's lives up because a child is caught texting now? JamesYoung
  • Score: 2

11:13am Tue 8 Jul 14

Legal Eyes says...

Put another way, only one under-15 has been charged with a sexual offence in the last two years. Frankly, I suspect the real story should focus on alarmingly low reporting levels, rather than the amount of questioning identified above.
Put another way, only one under-15 has been charged with a sexual offence in the last two years. Frankly, I suspect the real story should focus on alarmingly low reporting levels, rather than the amount of questioning identified above. Legal Eyes
  • Score: 2

11:27am Tue 8 Jul 14

elloello1980 says...

JamesYoung wrote:
I find this statement alarming:
“It could be that they have seen sexual activity that they are just too young to understand and are copying what they’ve seen.”
A more likely explanation is surely peer pressure, including pressure from older kids.
Are we going to see social services messing people's lives up because a child is caught texting now?
I'm sure I walked in on my parents a few times as a toddler when they were play fighting. did not cause me to want to rape someone.

13 year old kids having smartphones, however, is a big issue. I would have been in & out of the burns unit if I had access to the internet so easily as a young teen ;)
[quote][p][bold]JamesYoung[/bold] wrote: I find this statement alarming: “It could be that they have seen sexual activity that they are just too young to understand and are copying what they’ve seen.” A more likely explanation is surely peer pressure, including pressure from older kids. Are we going to see social services messing people's lives up because a child is caught texting now?[/p][/quote]I'm sure I walked in on my parents a few times as a toddler when they were play fighting. did not cause me to want to rape someone. 13 year old kids having smartphones, however, is a big issue. I would have been in & out of the burns unit if I had access to the internet so easily as a young teen ;) elloello1980
  • Score: 5

6:48pm Tue 8 Jul 14

Ashers 5 says...

elloello1980 wrote:
JamesYoung wrote:
I find this statement alarming:
“It could be that they have seen sexual activity that they are just too young to understand and are copying what they’ve seen.”
A more likely explanation is surely peer pressure, including pressure from older kids.
Are we going to see social services messing people's lives up because a child is caught texting now?
I'm sure I walked in on my parents a few times as a toddler when they were play fighting. did not cause me to want to rape someone.

13 year old kids having smartphones, however, is a big issue. I would have been in & out of the burns unit if I had access to the internet so easily as a young teen ;)
Please STOP blaming everyone else. It's down to parenting !
My 14 year old and my 11 year old have phones,there are filters provided by the phone suppliers that can and are in place !
[quote][p][bold]elloello1980[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JamesYoung[/bold] wrote: I find this statement alarming: “It could be that they have seen sexual activity that they are just too young to understand and are copying what they’ve seen.” A more likely explanation is surely peer pressure, including pressure from older kids. Are we going to see social services messing people's lives up because a child is caught texting now?[/p][/quote]I'm sure I walked in on my parents a few times as a toddler when they were play fighting. did not cause me to want to rape someone. 13 year old kids having smartphones, however, is a big issue. I would have been in & out of the burns unit if I had access to the internet so easily as a young teen ;)[/p][/quote]Please STOP blaming everyone else. It's down to parenting ! My 14 year old and my 11 year old have phones,there are filters provided by the phone suppliers that can and are in place ! Ashers 5
  • Score: -2

7:27pm Tue 8 Jul 14

JamesYoung says...

Ashers 5 wrote:
elloello1980 wrote:
JamesYoung wrote:
I find this statement alarming:
“It could be that they have seen sexual activity that they are just too young to understand and are copying what they’ve seen.”
A more likely explanation is surely peer pressure, including pressure from older kids.
Are we going to see social services messing people's lives up because a child is caught texting now?
I'm sure I walked in on my parents a few times as a toddler when they were play fighting. did not cause me to want to rape someone.

13 year old kids having smartphones, however, is a big issue. I would have been in & out of the burns unit if I had access to the internet so easily as a young teen ;)
Please STOP blaming everyone else. It's down to parenting !
My 14 year old and my 11 year old have phones,there are filters provided by the phone suppliers that can and are in place !
Ah, listen, the sound of a parent who doesn't know what she's talking about.
Have you heard of the TOR browser? You might want to google it. Your children have access to the most depraved **** that they choose to view (not to mention a "deliver to your door" service for guns and drugs) and there is not a THING that your phone suppliers can do about it.
[quote][p][bold]Ashers 5[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]elloello1980[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JamesYoung[/bold] wrote: I find this statement alarming: “It could be that they have seen sexual activity that they are just too young to understand and are copying what they’ve seen.” A more likely explanation is surely peer pressure, including pressure from older kids. Are we going to see social services messing people's lives up because a child is caught texting now?[/p][/quote]I'm sure I walked in on my parents a few times as a toddler when they were play fighting. did not cause me to want to rape someone. 13 year old kids having smartphones, however, is a big issue. I would have been in & out of the burns unit if I had access to the internet so easily as a young teen ;)[/p][/quote]Please STOP blaming everyone else. It's down to parenting ! My 14 year old and my 11 year old have phones,there are filters provided by the phone suppliers that can and are in place ![/p][/quote]Ah, listen, the sound of a parent who doesn't know what she's talking about. Have you heard of the TOR browser? You might want to google it. Your children have access to the most depraved **** that they choose to view (not to mention a "deliver to your door" service for guns and drugs) and there is not a THING that your phone suppliers can do about it. JamesYoung
  • Score: 0

7:36pm Tue 8 Jul 14

JamesYoung says...

JamesYoung wrote:
Ashers 5 wrote:
elloello1980 wrote:
JamesYoung wrote:
I find this statement alarming:
“It could be that they have seen sexual activity that they are just too young to understand and are copying what they’ve seen.”
A more likely explanation is surely peer pressure, including pressure from older kids.
Are we going to see social services messing people's lives up because a child is caught texting now?
I'm sure I walked in on my parents a few times as a toddler when they were play fighting. did not cause me to want to rape someone.

13 year old kids having smartphones, however, is a big issue. I would have been in & out of the burns unit if I had access to the internet so easily as a young teen ;)
Please STOP blaming everyone else. It's down to parenting !
My 14 year old and my 11 year old have phones,there are filters provided by the phone suppliers that can and are in place !
Ah, listen, the sound of a parent who doesn't know what she's talking about.
Have you heard of the TOR browser? You might want to google it. Your children have access to the most depraved **** that they choose to view (not to mention a "deliver to your door" service for guns and drugs) and there is not a THING that your phone suppliers can do about it.
The missing word rhymed with pawn. Apparently the word that rhymes with pawn is a bad word.
[quote][p][bold]JamesYoung[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Ashers 5[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]elloello1980[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JamesYoung[/bold] wrote: I find this statement alarming: “It could be that they have seen sexual activity that they are just too young to understand and are copying what they’ve seen.” A more likely explanation is surely peer pressure, including pressure from older kids. Are we going to see social services messing people's lives up because a child is caught texting now?[/p][/quote]I'm sure I walked in on my parents a few times as a toddler when they were play fighting. did not cause me to want to rape someone. 13 year old kids having smartphones, however, is a big issue. I would have been in & out of the burns unit if I had access to the internet so easily as a young teen ;)[/p][/quote]Please STOP blaming everyone else. It's down to parenting ! My 14 year old and my 11 year old have phones,there are filters provided by the phone suppliers that can and are in place ![/p][/quote]Ah, listen, the sound of a parent who doesn't know what she's talking about. Have you heard of the TOR browser? You might want to google it. Your children have access to the most depraved **** that they choose to view (not to mention a "deliver to your door" service for guns and drugs) and there is not a THING that your phone suppliers can do about it.[/p][/quote]The missing word rhymed with pawn. Apparently the word that rhymes with pawn is a bad word. JamesYoung
  • Score: 1

10:35am Wed 9 Jul 14

elloello1980 says...

Ashers 5 wrote:
elloello1980 wrote:
JamesYoung wrote:
I find this statement alarming:
“It could be that they have seen sexual activity that they are just too young to understand and are copying what they’ve seen.”
A more likely explanation is surely peer pressure, including pressure from older kids.
Are we going to see social services messing people's lives up because a child is caught texting now?
I'm sure I walked in on my parents a few times as a toddler when they were play fighting. did not cause me to want to rape someone.

13 year old kids having smartphones, however, is a big issue. I would have been in & out of the burns unit if I had access to the internet so easily as a young teen ;)
Please STOP blaming everyone else. It's down to parenting !
My 14 year old and my 11 year old have phones,there are filters provided by the phone suppliers that can and are in place !
shows how naïve you are. No filter is enough to stop a child (who are often the smarter ones with computers) finding some 'naughty' stuff.

But keep patting yourself on the back as you put down other parents...
[quote][p][bold]Ashers 5[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]elloello1980[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JamesYoung[/bold] wrote: I find this statement alarming: “It could be that they have seen sexual activity that they are just too young to understand and are copying what they’ve seen.” A more likely explanation is surely peer pressure, including pressure from older kids. Are we going to see social services messing people's lives up because a child is caught texting now?[/p][/quote]I'm sure I walked in on my parents a few times as a toddler when they were play fighting. did not cause me to want to rape someone. 13 year old kids having smartphones, however, is a big issue. I would have been in & out of the burns unit if I had access to the internet so easily as a young teen ;)[/p][/quote]Please STOP blaming everyone else. It's down to parenting ! My 14 year old and my 11 year old have phones,there are filters provided by the phone suppliers that can and are in place ![/p][/quote]shows how naïve you are. No filter is enough to stop a child (who are often the smarter ones with computers) finding some 'naughty' stuff. But keep patting yourself on the back as you put down other parents... elloello1980
  • Score: 3

10:37am Wed 9 Jul 14

elloello1980 says...

Ashers 5 wrote:
elloello1980 wrote:
JamesYoung wrote:
I find this statement alarming:
“It could be that they have seen sexual activity that they are just too young to understand and are copying what they’ve seen.”
A more likely explanation is surely peer pressure, including pressure from older kids.
Are we going to see social services messing people's lives up because a child is caught texting now?
I'm sure I walked in on my parents a few times as a toddler when they were play fighting. did not cause me to want to rape someone.

13 year old kids having smartphones, however, is a big issue. I would have been in & out of the burns unit if I had access to the internet so easily as a young teen ;)
Please STOP blaming everyone else. It's down to parenting !
My 14 year old and my 11 year old have phones,there are filters provided by the phone suppliers that can and are in place !
not to mention, an 11 year old with a smartphone?

slow clap to the town's "best parent". many lessons to come your way, no doubt
[quote][p][bold]Ashers 5[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]elloello1980[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JamesYoung[/bold] wrote: I find this statement alarming: “It could be that they have seen sexual activity that they are just too young to understand and are copying what they’ve seen.” A more likely explanation is surely peer pressure, including pressure from older kids. Are we going to see social services messing people's lives up because a child is caught texting now?[/p][/quote]I'm sure I walked in on my parents a few times as a toddler when they were play fighting. did not cause me to want to rape someone. 13 year old kids having smartphones, however, is a big issue. I would have been in & out of the burns unit if I had access to the internet so easily as a young teen ;)[/p][/quote]Please STOP blaming everyone else. It's down to parenting ! My 14 year old and my 11 year old have phones,there are filters provided by the phone suppliers that can and are in place ![/p][/quote]not to mention, an 11 year old with a smartphone? slow clap to the town's "best parent". many lessons to come your way, no doubt elloello1980
  • Score: 2

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree