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lunedì 15 dicembre 2014
CHILD RAPISTS IN MERSEYSIDE
Schoolkids under the age of 10 are among dozens of children in Merseyside arrested on suspicion of rape over the past five years, shocking new figures reveal.
Eighteen children under 10 have been detained byMerseyside Policefor rape since 2011, while a further 22 have been held for sex offences.
The 40 primary school-age children are among 128 kids under the age of 15 who have been arrested for rape or sexual offences in the past five years.
These include one case of incest, another of exposure and dozens of groping offences.
Rape campaigner Jo Wood said it’s “horrendous to think of little people going out and doing these things”.
Ms Wood, who runs the Merseyside Rape and Sexual Abuse centre, said access to pornography and exposure to sexual situations from a young age can lead to distorted views of relationships.
“Some things must have happened in these children’s lives to make them do something like this,” she said.
“You have to ask the questions: ‘What have they seen at home? What access have they got to pornography? What kind of adults will these children grow into?
“Something must have gone wrong somewhere. It must be a reaction to something.”
Ms Wood, who was awarded an MBE in 2010 for her work with victims of domestic and sexual violence across Merseyside, said even kids as young as 10 know what they’re doing is wrong.
In the UK, 10 is the age of criminal responsibility.
She said: “The problem is that young victims then start to question if it’s wrong. How would they know it’s wrong if they think it’s happening to everyone?”
But Ms Wood argued that rising numbers of recorded rape, even by children, could be seen as positive, because it show’s a “shift in society’s attitudes”.
“We don’t know for certain that these things haven’t always happened,” she said.
“It should be that victims have the confidence to come forward and at the end of the day what it comes down to is education.
"We need to teach both victims and perpetrators about respect.”
Merseyside Police warned that sexual offences were often reported years or even decades after they took place.
It is also possible that some suspects might have been arrested many years later for crimes they allegedly committed when they were nine years old or younger.
A spokesman said that sex with a child under 13 is rape and it is “irrelevant whether the child consents or does not consent to the act involved”.
The spokesman said: “If sexual intercourse takes place with a child under 16, but not under 13, and it took place with the consent of the child, the appropriate offence would be sexual activity with a child.”
Facts & figures
Of the 55 children under the age of 15 arrested in Merseyside, nine were convicted and seven were charged but not convicted
In 32 cases, no further action was taken
Of those 55 kids, 15 were arrested in Liverpool South while nine were held in Knowsley
Out of 73 children arrested for sex offences, 20 were arrested in Wirral and 12 were detained in St Helens
The offences are among 133 allegedly committed by youngsters aged nine or under, according to the figures released by Merseyside Police under the Freedom of Information Act
Other child suspects include 20 under 10s arrested for shoplifting, four for stealing bikes, and two for arson
A further four children were suspected of robbery.
Other violent crimes include 16 cases of common assault, eight cases of harassment, and four of actual bodily harm.