It has emerged that on average 100 children and teenagers are charged with rape each year in Scotland.
In 19 of the 500 cases recorded over the last five years, the charges were brought against children aged eight, nine or ten.
Last year a total of 755 charges were brought against under-18s for indecency or sexual offences, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.
The statistics were obtained by the BBC as part of a new documentary, The Dark Side of Teenage Sex, to be shown this evening at 10:35pm.
Last year family campaigners opposed attempts to water down the age of consent law in Scotland because of fears that young girls could be exposed to the threat of abuse.
The Scottish Government had wanted to change the law to allow oral sex between 13 and 15-year-olds.
The Scottish Children’s Commissioner had even suggested decriminalising full sexual intercourse between youngsters in this age group.
However, in March the plans were altered so that only sexual touching between 13 and 15-year-olds became legal.
The Christian Institute welcomed the change, but noted that a recent Panorama investigation showed that unwanted groping between children is a live issue.
The Institute’s Director, Colin Hart, urged the Government to think again before weakening the age of consent law in this area.
He said: “We all know that proving a lack of consent can be notoriously difficult in sexual abuse cases.
“In such instances the age of consent offence has shown itself to be a very useful child protection measure.”
Tonight’s BBC investigation looks at the case of Colyn Evans, who was accused of six sex-related offences by the time he was 16 but was never registered as a sex offender.
In 2005 he murdered 16-year-old Karen Dewar in Tayport, Fife.
Karen’s father told the BBC programme: “Evans was never given any treatment”.
He added that Mr Evans “was just gave up on and I suppose there are hundreds of them out there like that”.
According to the Home Office, adolescents aged under 18 commit over a third of all sex offences and many of the victims are aged 16 or under.
The research said twelve per cent of recorded sexual crimes involved perpetrators aged under 18 with victims under 16.