NEW figures obtained by the NSPCC show that there were 31 cases of under 18s being accused of sexual offences against other children in the last two years in Gloucestershire.
In one report to Gloucestershire Police a child only 10 years old was involved.
Over 8,000 under 18s were accused of sexual offences against other children in the last two years in the UK.
Most victims knew their alleged perpetrator and some of the most common crimes were teenage boys offending against female acquaintances.
Whilst most offenders were male there was a small proportion of female offenders as well as male and female victims. Crimes included serious sexual assaults, rape, and obscene publication offences.
Up to two thirds of contact sexual abuse on children is committed by other young people. But whilst these crimes are shocking, this behaviour can be turned around if caught early.
Sharon Copsey, NSPCC head of service for the South West, said: “It’s deeply concerning that thousands 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 question the environment in which they are growing up 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.”
Parents can help keep their children safe by teaching them the ‘Underwear Rule’ which is a simple, effective and age appropriate way of telling children what is and isn’t acceptable.
Parents simply tell their children that the area covered by their underwear should never be touched by anyone else.
Any adult 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.
Detective Inspector Katy Miles of Gloucestershire Police's Public Protection Bureau said "We have a dedicated team of specially trained officers to deal with incidents of this nature, however protecting children is everyone's responsibility.
"If you have concerns about the welfare of any child we would urge you to contact police immediately.
"We take all reports of this nature very seriously and they will be investigated thoroughly"