Child-on-child sex offences have significantly increased over the past four years, new figures have revealed.
In England and Wales there was a 78 per cent increase in reported offences, with 9,290 in 2016 compared to 5,215 in 2013.
Barnardo’s, which carried out the Freedom of Information request behind the figures, said it should serve as a “wake-up call”.
The Metropolitan Police had the highest number of reported cases with 5,470, followed by West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.
Warwickshire saw a staggering 521 per cent increase and Norfolk a 371 per cent increase.
There were 32,452 total reports over the four-year period.
Javed Khan, Barnardo’s Chief Executive, said: “We’re deeply concerned more children may be sexually harming other children. We know this can be because they’ve been abused themselves and may not have received the right support to help them recover.”
Norfolk’s Chief Constable Simon Bailey said: “We believe we can attribute these increases to more awareness and greater victim confidence.
“We also have to look at the possibility that more abuse is being perpetrated and if technology is facilitating this.”
Responding for the Government, a spokesperson said: “Child sexual abuse is a horrendous crime and this government is committed to preventing children and young people from becoming both victims and perpetrators.”