More than 1,000 children under the age of ten have been accused of serious crimes in Manchester alone over the last three years, but were never prosecuted because they are too young. The figure includes boys as young as seven and eight who have been questioned on suspicion of rape. Similar cases have emerged in North Wales.
The cases have come to light thanks to Freedom of Information requests lodged by the Daily Mail. They include a seven year old Manchester boy who was accused of raping a girl under the age of 13, and an eight year old boy accused of raping a girl under 16. A further rape claim was also registered wherein the accused was a six year old boy at the time, although the case is thought to have taken place over 40 years ago.
In North Wales, two nine year old boys were also accused of rape within the last two years. Thirty one children in North Wales were also suspected of causing actual bodily harm, the youngest being a six year old girl.
Other cases include a six year old boy suspected of possessing cannabis, and a nine year old girl accused of carrying a knife or blade at school. Children under ten are considered by law to be too young to be held criminally responsible for wrongdoing.
Despite the decades old case of an under ten being accused of rape, a spokesman from children’s charity the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) was quick to lay the blame on porn, and call for “prevention.”
Des Mannion of NSPCC Wales said pornography was “warping young people’s views of what is normal or acceptable behaviour”.
“Prevention has to be the key and that means recognising warning signs early and taking swift action,” he added. “For very young children we have to question the environment in which they are growing up that has led to them behaving in this way. It could be that they have seen sexual activity that they are just too young to understand and are copying what they’ve seen.”