Girls of 12 Accused of Sex Crimes; Steep Rise in Attack Claims against Females: EXCLUSIVE

Article excerpt

Byline: DONNA BOWATER

SCHOOLGIRLS as young as 12 have been accused of sex crimes in the West Midlands, shocking new police figures have revealed.

A total of 75 females were investigated for offences including prostitution, trafficking and sexual assault on a child in the last three years.

The youngest suspects were two schoolgirls aged 12, one aged 13 and two 15 year-olds, while the oldest was a woman of 62.

Figures show nine girls aged 16 or under were charged with offences or given a caution or reprimand.

They also reveal an 83 per cent rise in women being accused of sex crimes in the region between 2007/08 and 2009/2010.

Donald Findlater, director of research and development at Birmingham-based child protection charity, the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, said the internet had "opened a window" onto sex offending.

He said: "I would be interested in the extent any of these young people have been involved in internet-related offences, including posting images of themselves online - that would be a sexual offence.

"It could also be a young person sexually grooming another young person online.

"There is clearly a fair number of adult females coming to attention and a surprising number of young people, but for what kind of behaviour?" In December, the Sunday Mercury told how Midlands mum Susanne Divers, 26, was jailed for three years and banned from working with children after having sex with a 14 year-old boy. She was also placed on the Sex Offenders' Register.

The new figures show of the 75 women investigated by cops between July 2007 and July 2010, a total of 61 were charged. Police also issued nine cautions, two youth reprimands and three second warning youth reprimands. …