Home Office Report says:
Most child sex attacks committed by relatives, family friends.
(c) 1999 by Agence France-Presse (via ClariNet)
LONDON, Feb 5 (AFP) - Children are at much greater risk of sexual abuse from relatives and family friends than they are from predatory paedophiles, according to new British government research out Friday.
The Home Office report concluded that up to 80 percent of sexual offences take place either in the home of the perpetrator or the victim, by adults they knew.
A survey showed that some 68 percent of attackers knew their victims and 13 percent were related to them. Only 18 percent were strangers.
Also, attacks by strangers were usually one-off incidents, and were rarer and less traumatic than persistent abuse by someone known to the child, the report said.
The report was commissioned in the wake of controversy over the threat posed by paedophiles who, having served time in prison, were released back into the community.
It reckoned that up to 72,500 children a year were attacked in England and Wales, although admitted figures were extremely difficult to establish.
The research found that only one in five men jailed for molesting children was likely to be caught re-offending, compared with reconviction figures of 50 percent for non-sexual offenders within two years of the original crime.
Most abusers did not fit the strict medical description of "paedophilia." Offences were usually carried out by men often characterised as "emotionally lonely."
Fears about paedophile networks are also exaggerated, the report said.
It estimated there were around 240 cases of "organised abuse," involving more than one perpetrator, each year in England and Wales, a small proportion of total cases of abuse.
The research also found that a third of all sex crimes are carried out by adolescents.
The report recommended better risk assessment to identify those who were likely to re-offend, as well as awareness campaigns for parents and carers to look out for signs of abuse.