Hampshire tops ‘shocking’ national statistics for under-10s suspected of rape

The “shocking” figures could be the result of children being coerced into action by adults or because they may have suffered abuse in the past, charities have said.

There are around 200 to 300 cases like this each year in the two countries, according to Home Office data.

Children aged nine or under are believed to have committed more than 1,600 rapes in England and Wales since 2014, The news’ sister title NationalWorld revealed after analyzing government data.

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Police. Photo: Habibur Rahman

Hampshire Police recorded the most offenses involving a minor suspect, at 115.

This is followed by Greater Manchester (111), West Yorkshire (95), Thames Valley (83) and Northumbria (72).

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Home Office data on findings recorded between April 2014 and September 2021 revealed that police forces in the two countries were unable to prosecute in around 1,660 cases because the suspect was n was under the age of criminal responsibility – which is 10 in England and Wales. Children younger than that cannot be arrested or charged with a crime.

Shonagh Dillon, Founder and CEO of Aurora New Dawn, which supports victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and harassment. Submitted on March 13, 2021

In English and Welsh law, rape involves the non-consensual penetration of a victim’s vagina, anus or mouth with a penis. It would not cover penetration with another part of the body or with an object, which is instead classified as sexual assault by penetration.

Home Office data shows there have also been 5,280 hits with a registered underage suspect for sexual assault (which would include assault by penetration, as well as other crimes) since April 2014.

The majority of rape cases involving a suspect under the age of 10 involved male victims – unlike all rape cases, which are overwhelmingly committed against women and girls.

About 55% of offenses involving a minor suspect were committed against men.

Abuse charities and Hampshire Police said such crimes raised questions about protection.

Dr Shonagh Dillon, chief executive of Hampshire’s domestic violence charity Aurora New Dawn, said: ‘If a child aged 10 or younger is displaying sexually abusive behavior it is not just a protection risk for victims, but a huge red flag in terms of what’s happening to this child.

“They are very likely to be victims of child abuse themselves, both sexual abuse and coercion or violence.

“Criminalizing these children would be a last resort, what should be foremost in our minds is what adults do around and to these children to display sexually violent behavior at such a young age.”

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has said ‘horrible’ incidents can be the result of abuse suffered by the child who commits the rapes – and that protection, not action punitive, must be the priority.

Kellie Ann Fitzgerald, NSPCC Deputy Director of Services in the South East, said: “Peer sexual abuse can have a devastating impact on the lives of the young people involved.

“It is essential that individuals, communities and professionals are there to try to prevent it, spot the signs that it is happening and offer support when it does.

“The NSPCC has a range of resources to support this, including lesson plans on personal safety, healthy relationships and online bullying. Last year, the NSPCC’s Speak out Stay safe program helped 190,061 primary school children in London and the South East learn about different types of abuse in a child-friendly and age-friendly way. age, so they can get help if they need it.

A spokeswoman for Hampshire’s Yellow Door domestic abuse charity said: “The number of rapes committed by people under the age of 10 is a shocking statistic that raises more questions than it answers. “

“We don’t know the circumstances behind these statistics, but we do know that sex crimes often go unreported. We suspect that the high level of cases in Hampshire indicated by this report is in fact due to effective crime registration. The Hampshire Constabulary team responsible for rape and sexual offenses is particularly competent and works closely with other agencies. They are therefore more likely to learn about, identify and record such crimes.

“However, we know that there are particularly high levels of reported sexual offenses (regardless of age) in Southampton and, to a lesser extent, Portsmouth. Further research is needed to understand the reasons for these statistics.

“As stated by the NSPCC, when a child commits a sexual offence, they may have experienced trauma or abuse themselves. It is essential that children and adolescents can access the support they need and understand what healthy relationships are and are not.

“In the scenario where a child commits a sexual offence, everyone involved needs to be protected.

“We urge anyone who has had an unwanted sexual experience to get in touch with Yellow Door. Our Independent Sexual Violence Counselors (ISVAs) provide confidential emotional and practical support to people of all ages and genders who have experienced rape, sexual abuse, sexual violence or sexual exploitation at any time of their life. Contact us at www.yellowdoor.org.uk or call us on 02380 636312.’

Meanwhile, Hampshire Police admitted it was a ‘complex’ area to deal with, but insisted child safety was a priority for them.

A spokesperson said: “Protecting children is one of the most important things police services do, and our child-centred policing strategy places child protection at the heart of our work, with our officers and our staff dedicated to this in an increasingly complex and demanding environment.

“We take reports of this nature very seriously and, although not of the age of criminal responsibility, we work closely with partner agencies to ensure that protection and protection are in place. appropriate support for everyone involved and to work to understand what may have led to this behavior and how to prevent recurrence.’