Thousands of children and teenagers are seeking help from Childline after being sexually abused by another young person.
The latest figures from the NSPCC-service reveal that last year there were 3,004 counselling sessions with young people who had experienced sexual abuse by a friend, boyfriend or girlfriend, an ex-partner or another young person. (1)
Almost half this number was aged between 12 and 15 but a further 114 were with children aged 11 and under.
Older children are vulnerable to suffering the abuse in different places, including school, at home, at parties and online, while younger ones are more likely to experience it as one-off incident at primary school.
Some teachers who witness peer sexual abuse have told us, via the NSPCC Helpline, they need more support in how to deal with these situations.
The NSPCC is calling for revamped and reformed relationship and sex education (RSE) to be incorporated into the national curriculum as quickly as possible, taught by highly trained staff from primary school onwards.
Classes should focus on young people keeping healthy bodies and relationships, and ensure that children are able to understand what sexual abuse is and be able to recognise its signs and how to keep themselves safe.