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NSPCC: 'We have to question the environment' of young sexual offenders

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."

– Des Mannion, Head of Service, NSPCC Cymru

NSPCC figures show extent of sexual offences by under-18s

South Wales Police's youngest perpetrator was 11 years old Credit: PA Images

Over 150 people under 18 in Wales were accused of sexual offences against other children in the last two years.

That's according to a Freedom of Information investigation by children's charity the NSPCC.

Three out of the four police forces responded to the FOI request recording 158 cases.

The full number of under 18s offending across the UK was 8,000.

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.

The NSPCC argues behaviour can be turned around if caught early.

Its harmful sexual behaviour service in Cardiff, Turn the Page, is showing success in helping young offenders change their behaviour and stopping them committing more sexual crimes as they get older.

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NSPCC investigation findings 'deeply concerning'

The NSPCC says it's obtained figures which show that over 8,000 under 18s in England and Wales were accused of sexual offences against other children in the last two years.

One report made to a police force in Wales about a child who was 10 years old.

Welsh Police Forces responded to a Freedom of Information request recording 158 cases of under 18s accused of sexual offences against other children over the two year period.

Most victims knew their alleged perpetrator and some of the most common crimes were teenage boys.

It's deeply concerning that thousands of children are committing sexual offences...

– Des Mannion, NSPCC head of service for NSPCC Cymru/Wales

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.

NSPCC: Operation Pallial 'a major step forward'

This latest investigation is a major step forward investigating claims of widespread child abuse.

The NSPCC is providing a round-the-clock helpline – 0800 389 6176 - which has already taken 124 calls relating to this inquiry. We would urge anyone who has any information about abuse, either current or historic, to contact us or the police immediately.

– Des Mannion, NSPCC national head of service in Wales

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Film aims to prevent parents shaking babies

New parents will be shown a DVD about the dangers of shaking babies Credit: Chris Ison/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A programme aimed at educating new parents about the risks of shaking babies is due to be trialed in hospitals across Wales.

The Preventing Non-Accidental Head Injury (NAHI) programme by children's charity the NSPCC involves showing new parents a short film by midwives and health professionals before they leave hospital.

It will also aim to provide them with coping mechanisms for when the pressures of parenthood get too much.

Health boards in Wales will be among the first in the UK to pilot the scheme.

The NSPCC says that when the DVD was shown in America over a five-year period the number of non-accidental head injuries decreased by 47 per cent.

For more information on the campaign visit the NSPCC website here.

Welsh Government: 'committed' to tackling child neglect

Early intervention programmes such as Families First, Flying Start and Integrated Family support services work to combat the circumstances in which neglect can happen. The proposed Social Services (Wales) Bill will contain provisions for a more robust and coherent statutory framework and a responsive, sustainable and confident workforce, to safeguard children. Safeguarding children is a key priority of the Welsh Government. We will continue to consider what more can be done to support agencies, practitioners, families and children.

– Welsh Government spokesman

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