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30 January 2015, 09:11
A children's charity has told Capital young children accused of sexual offences in Birmingham and the Black Country need to be helped as well as punished, so they don't grow up to do worse
A Freedom of Information request to West Midlands Police has found 116 under eight's were caught by the force between 2011 and 2014.
41 of those were in 2014, almost three times more than in 2011.
As people cannot be prosecuted until the age of 10, the NSPCC says it's important that those caught understand the reasons why the behaviour is inappropriate.
John Brown, Head of Sexual Abuse Programmes, NSPCC, told Capital: "There's certainly an increase in the awareness of what a sexual assault is more generally, and that could be a factor.
"Also, more young children are accessing the internet, and could be accessing pornography.
"It's disturbing to think about it, but we are aware at the NSPCC that some children are looking at things online they shouldn't be doing and that is influencing the behaviour."
Bosses at the charity have admitted they aren't sure if the figures show a true reflection of the issue, or whether it is about the increased awareness of sexual offences.
"We are concerned however, and want to make sure the government take a stronger lead to help these young people," John Brown added.