Porn blamed as pupils aged five excluded for sex offences

Children as young as five are being excluded from school for sexual misconduct amid fears that increasing numbers are being warped by online porn.

Shocking new data reveals hundreds of pupils have been punished in the last four years for sexual acts, including assaulting or harassing other children, watching pornography and sharing indecent images.

The figures, released by councils under the Freedom of Information Act, come as increasing numbers of children are able to access inappropriate material on the internet.

Campaigners called yesterday for schools to provide better education about the dangers of internet porn after concerns that pupils are copying what they see online.

Children as young as five are being excluded from school for sexual misconduct amid fears that increasing numbers are being warped by online porn (file image)

The data, obtained by the Press Association, revealed there were 754 reported incidents between July 2013 and April 2017.

However the true figure is likely to be much higher, as the vast majority of councils contacted said they did not hold the information or refused to disclose it.

The data shows that boys are the most likely to be punished for sex incidents, with 18 committed by a boy for every one committed by a girl.

The most common age of those excluded was 14, though seven of the perpetrators were just five years old.

It comes at the same time as rising concerns that parents are powerless to stop children accessing porn online via iPads or smartphones.

Last year, a court in Cheltenham heard how a 12-year-old boy repeatedly raped his younger sister after becoming fascinated with hardcore online pornography.

And in 2014, a 13-year-old boy from Blackburn admitted raping his eight-year-old sister after watching porn on a friend’s Xbox and ‘deciding to try it out’.

Neil Carmichael, former Tory chair of the Commons education select committee, said the findings show the importance of warning youngsters about the dangers of porn. He said: ‘It’s about making sure young people are aware of the risks and the dangers and the need to treat each other properly.

‘That’s really the school’s responsibility and why personal, social, health and economic education is so important. This is much more of a problem now than it was 20 years ago.’ An NSPCC spokesman said: ‘Social media, sexting, online porn and dating apps did not exist when sex education was introduced on the curriculum a generation ago. It must be dragged into the 21st century.’

The FOI figures for permanent and temporary exclusions showed there were at least 40 incidents of children below ten years old, the age of criminal responsibility, disciplined for misdemeanours.

Schools said children could be censured under the term ‘sexual misconduct’ for a range of issues, including sexual abuse, assault, bullying, and harassment, as well as lewd behaviour.

Campaigners called yesterday for schools to provide better education about the dangers of internet porn after concerns that pupils are copying what they see online (file image)

Other examples included holding, distributing or requesting indecent images, accessing internet pornography, and sexual misconduct involving social media.

There was a surge in incidents as children reached secondary school – with 66 incidents involving 12-year-olds, peaking at 120 for those aged 14, before trailing off for those aged 15 and above. The data was based on results of 15 local authorities.

A Department of Education spokesman said: ‘Sexual assault of any kind is an offence and must always be reported to the police. Schools should be safe places and we issue safeguarding guidance to protect pupils’ welfare.

‘As announced in March 2017, all primary schools will be required to teach Relationships Education and all secondary schools will have to teach Relationships and Sex Education in the future.’

Figures released last month by the Government show there were 2,070 fixed-period exclusions for sexual misconduct in English schools for the academic year 2015/16, as well as 70 permanent exclusions for the same reason.

The number is higher because it covers those councils not providing figures under the FOI request.

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August 09, 2017

Sources:` Daily Mail

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