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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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Children arrested in sex abuse inquiries

Seventeen children aged 13 or under have been arrested for suspected sex crimes, including rape, in the last three years in Cumbria.

Mike Forrester photo
DCI Mike Forrester

Alleged victims were as young as three, with suspects also being held over claims of offences of indecent exposure and inciting youngsters to take part in sexual activity.

Figures from the files of the county police force show that further action was taken in only two of the cases, with all the other suspects being released without charge.

Some parents had made discoveries after checking their child’s computer.

But senior detectives say these types of crimes are rare in Cumbria.

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Forrester said the force would always take seriously allegations such as rape and sexual offences committed against the wishes of one of the people involved.

He added: “Where investigations identify the children have willingly engaged in sexual activity between themselves it is not always appropriate to criminalise them and this, therefore, results in no further action.”

DCI Forrester also said allegations could turn out to be “not what was first thought” following investigations. He said anyone who was considered a danger would be monitored by the force and work was also carried out with children’s services and other public agencies.

“In Cumbria we don’t have that many offences of attacks on children,” added DCI Forrester.

“You do get reports from parents who find out their children have engaged in sexual activity through checking computers or Facebook.

“If offences are committed we will prosecute them.”

The figures show that between November 2009 and October 2010, six children aged 12 or 13 were arrested on suspicion of sexual offences, five were arrested over the following year and six in the 12 months up to October.

The alleged offences were: assault of a girl aged under-13 by touching; exposure; causing or inciting a girl aged under-13 to engage in sexual activity; rape of a girl; inciting a boy aged under-13 to engage in sexual activity; assault of a female aged 13 and over by penetration; attempted rape of a girl; sexual activity with a boy; sexual assault; rape of a boy; assaulting a boy by touching.

A spokeswoman for the children’s charity NSPCC said: “Any incidents like these are a real cause for concern.

“We should also not forget that the young people perpetrating this serious abuse have often themselves experienced significant emotional deprivation and other forms of abuse.”

Adults can contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 and children can call ChildLine on 0800 1111.

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