Figures obtained by the NSPCC have revealed that 366 young people in the North East have committed acts of child sex abuse.
The charity found that nationally there were more than 5,000 cases reported to the police in the last three years.
Nearly all (98%) of the 4,562 offenders were boys and at least three out of five of the victims knew their abuser.
Claire Lilley, policy adviser at the NSPCC, said she hoped the findings would ring "alarm bells" with authorities that the problem required urgent action.
The NSPCC obtained the statistics through Freedom of Information requests to each of the 43 police forces in England and Wales.
But only 34 forces supplied figures - revealing a total of 5,028 offences - so the true number of offences is likely to be higher, the NSPCC said.