More than 1,000 child sex offences are reported

‘Urgent action’ needed after child grooming figures rocket by 64%

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AN AVERAGE three sex crimes were reported against children a day across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight last year, new figures reveal.

A total of 1,134 sex offences against under 18s were reported to Hampshire Constabulary in 2009/10, according to the NSPCC.

The charity says most reports concerned children aged 12-15 years old. However, 77 victims in the region were pre-school age and 312 were aged 11 or under.

Figures – revealed following a Freedom of Information request by the charity – show 71 of the known suspects in these reported cases were aged under 18.

Across England and Wales 22,390 sex offences were recorded against children in the period – up from 21,619 the previous year.

Julie Cole, NSPCC regional head of service for Hampshire, said: ‘The rise in recorded sex offences against children is a real concern and we need to find ways to help victims and change the behaviour of young offenders.

‘It’s clear we need more services that address the harmful sexual behaviour of young people, as well as adult offenders.

‘This year the NSPCC is launching two UK-wide programmes to help prevent young people from sexually harming others.

‘A third programme will test different therapies for helping children recover from sex abuse.

‘We urge everyone to be vigilant and report any concerns they have’.