Family Lives responds to 18 year old man arrested for rape of 11 year old

“News that a second man, aged 18 has been arrested for the rape of an 11 year old girl is deeply worrying and our thoughts are with her and her family.  Peer-on-peer and teen-on-child sexual exploitation, rape, abuse and emerging traits of hypermasculinity must be addressed.  Early intervention when tackling sexual misogyny is essential to ensuring that individuals are free from sexual and gender-based violence. Age-appropriate education and information will reduce the likelihood of young people suffering negative physical, social, emotional, educational outcomes.   Without clear and frank information, children and young people will continue to rely on - or be conditioned by - inaccurate information or portrayals including, those from pornography and the media.  TeenBoundariesUK, part of the Family Lives group, is committed to helping teenagers develop positive gender relationships and has already worked with over 6000 young people in schools and communities to address sexual bullying, early sexualisation and its influences on teen behaviour.  Urgent research is required to quantify the full extent of sexual violence between young people.  Both quantitative and qualitative research is needed to explore the causal drivers underlying this warped behaviour.  The government must prioritise funding to ensure that there is enough data on this problem to understand the scale of the problem and generate evidence-based measures to tackle it.   Funding needs to be made available to schools and colleges and other professionals to enable them to deliver awareness training to staff and young people around Sexualisation, Objectification, Sexual Bullying and Peer Pressure so they can identify the early signs of this activity and build inner resilience to stop exploitation happening to them and those that they care for.

Family Lives urges any parent, family member or teacher concerned about a child or groups sexual behaviour to call Family Lives' free helpline, Parentline, on 0808 800 2222, for help and support.”

Claire Walker, Director of Policy, TeenBoundaries