LONDON — The number of children reporting sexual abuse by women to Childline has more than doubled over the past five years, the charity said on Monday.
Childline said there has been a 132 percent rise in complaints of female sexual abuse, compared with a 27 percent increase in reports of sexual abuse by men.
In the past year, 2,142 children told the charity that they have been sexually assaulted by a woman, while 6,000 said their abuser was a man.
Childline said sexual abuse by women now accounts for nearly 25 percent of all calls to its helpline service where the offender's gender can be identified.
The statistics follow the recent case of nursery worker Vanessa George who was a member of a paedophile ring.
George is awaiting sentencing after pleaded guilty last month to seven sexual assaults and six counts of making and distributing indecent pictures of children.
Childline president Esther Rantzen said the report "has shattered common myths about sexual abuse".
"It does not only happen to girls, as many people believe. It happens to boys too," she said.
The research showed that boys were more likely to say they had been abused by a woman (1,722 cases) than by a man (1,651).
In contrast, girls were over 10 times likelier to report being abused by a male (4,972) than by a female (420).
The report found that most children who disclosed sexual abuse to ChildLine were aged between 12-15, and most said they knew their attacker.
"Mothers can sometimes sexually abuse their sons. And the report found that when girls are sexually abused, by far the most common perpetrator is not a stepfather, as many believe, but the biological father," said Rantzen.
Previous research by the NSPCC suggested women may be responsible for about one in 20 sex offences committed against children.
Forensic psychologist Theresa Gannon said the findings were "worrying, but perhaps not surprising" considering the recent high-profile case involving George.
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