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6:02am 13th January 2014

It is feared paedophiles in Cornwall and Devon could be targeting victims who can not speak out.

The NSPCC has told Pirate FM abuse against primary school children is up more than 20% in a year.

There have been 146 in the southwest.

On average, at least one in five of all recorded sexual offences against children involve those too young to attend secondary school.

The children's charity is re-running its ‘Underwear Rule’ campaign which encourages parents of children aged 5-11 with the resources to talk to them about staying safe from sexual abuse.

Nearly half say they have not tackled the issue with their children.

Regional head of service for NSPCC South West Sharon Copsey said: “Sexual abuse continues to be a terrible scar on our society which won’t heal by itself. Our campaign has started to make inroads in giving children the protection they need but there is obviously still a long way to go.

“The police figures are disturbing, particularly as many of the victims are so young. This highlights the urgent need to tackle this problem from an early age. And parents and carers can play an important role by ensuring their children are armed with the knowledge to recognise the wrong kind of behaviour and keep themselves safe”.

Last year across the UK, 22,654 sexual offences against under-18s were reported to police with four out of five cases involving girls. The majority of these offences, which included, rape, sexual assault, abuse through pornography and grooming, were committed against children of secondary school age. But some of the victims were only one-year-old.

The figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, show girls are still at least four times more likely to be sexually abused, with 17,837 crimes reported.

Of the 747 sex crimes recorded against children under 18 by Devon & Cornwall Police last year, 637 were girls.  

Sharon continued: “It’s a startling fact that most children are abused by someone they know so it’s vital that we communicate to children that it’s not right for anyone to touch the places that are private to them, no matter who they are.

“The Underwear Rule is a vital part of this process and is already striking a chord with some parents but we would urge more to get involved.”

You can find more information here.

Tips To Give Your Children...

  • Privates are private.
  • Always remember your body belongs to you
  • No means no
  • Talk about secrets that upset you
  • Speak up, someone can help

The campaign complements the organisation’s ChildLine Schools Service which is visiting every primary school in the UK advising children on how to stay safe from all forms of abuse.

6:02am 13th January 2014

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