One-Fifth Of Child Sexual Assaults Done By Family

Almost one in five of sexual assaults against children in Northern Ireland are carried out by a member of the child's immediate family, research suggests.

The NSPCC analysed police data to assess crimes against children between 2008 and 2010.

It found that sexual offences against children accounted for 56% of all reported sexual crime, and one third of sexual offenders were aged between 10 and 19.

In Northern Ireland, just over a quarter (28%) of sexual offenders were strangers to the victim.

44% of sexual offenders were known to but not related to the victim and almost one in five offences were family member.

The NSPCC also analysed figured from about half of police forces in England and Wales, and drew the conclusion that strangers were responsible for only 7% of reported sexual abuse incidents last year.

The charity has called on the Department of Justice and the PSNI to collate victim information and publish it centrally.

Neil Anderson, NSPCC NI head of service, said: "There is sometimes the perception that child sex offenders are strangers - sinister figures lurking in the shadows.

"But the reality is that most victims know their abusers. They are more likely to be a relative, neighbour or family friend rather than someone they have never met before.

"Many of the victims are threatened or intimidated into silence, with some thinking no-one will believe them or that their revelations will break up their family.

"This means some offenders go unpunished and are at liberty to abuse more youngsters."


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