Young people seek help after being sexually abused by other children
AROUND 40 young people in Northern Ireland sought help last year after experiencing peer sexual abuse.
Figures released today by the NSPCC reveal there were 3,004 counselling sessions with young people who had experienced sexual abuse by a friend, boyfriend or girlfriend, ex-partner or another young person across the UK over the past 12 months.
Statistics show that 41 of these sessions were with young people from the north.
It comes as the NSPCC also publishes a report today, 'Is this sexual abuse?' to highlight how victims felt confused about what had happened to them, with younger children in particular struggling to understand if they had actually been sexually abused.
The charity is also calling for more support for teachers in how to deal with these situations and to emphasise the importance of helping teachers to recognise and respond effectively to harmful sexual behaviour.
Neil Anderson Head of NSPCC in Northern Ireland said: "There is something particularly shocking and disturbing about a child being sexually abused by another young person.
"Unfortunately we have to wake up to the fact that this is happening across the UK thousands of times over each year, with both victim and perpetrator at risk of suffering lasting damage.
"Tackling this problem demands all children are introduced to key learning concepts such as boundaries and consent from primary school onwards."
:: Any child worried about peer sexual abuse can call Childline on 0800 11 11. Any adult who is concerned about a child can call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000.