MORE than a third of children who are sexually assaulted or raped are attacked by another minor, it has emerged.
Research has revealed that 37pc of all perpetrators of sexual violence against a child are under 18 themselves and more than half are a friend, acquaintance or neighbour of the victim.
A further quarter are related to their victim and 97pc of perpetrators are male, according to a report published by the Rape Crisis Network of Ireland (RCNI).
A child under the age of 13 is most likely to be targeted for abuse by a family member, rather than an acquaintance.
However, the opposite is the case for a teenage girl, who is at a higher risk of a one-off sex attack by somebody outside their family, such as a friend, acquaintance or neighbour.
The report notes that teaching children 'stranger danger' is not sufficient and argues that child-protection measures must address the fact that most child victims are abused by someone in the family or by someone else whom they know.
The report, 'Hearing Child Survivors of Sexual Violence: Towards a National Response', was collected from 16 frontline services.
RCNI director Fiona Neary warned: "Girls' vulnerability to rape increases as they age. Girls over 13 who attended in 2012 were most commonly subjected to rape and, in the majority of cases, rape by their peers or those only slightly older.
"When assaulted, the girl child is more likely than a boy to be raped. We need to understand these different phases of vulnerability to shape an effective response that protects all children.
"This points to an urgent need to challenge culture and norms of gender and sexual inequality and in particular to focus our attention on boys."
* 75pc of child survivors, both girls and boys, aged 13-17 were subjected to rape.
* 60pc of female child survivors were subjected to rape, compared to 30pc of male child survivors.
* 70pc of child survivors under the age of five were subjected to sexual assault.
* 73pc of female survivors aged 13-17 were abused in an outdoor location or in a location other than their own home or the perpetrator's home.
* 85pc of incidents of sexual violence perpetrated against girls aged 13-17 lasted for hours.
* The average age of perpetrators was 26 and 97pc were male.
* Family members accounted for 24pc of child perpetrators of sexual violence against children.
* Child survivors mostly disclosed the sexual violence to their parents first (75pc).
* 82pc of sexual incidents disclosed by child survivors were reported to a formal authority by the survivor themselves or by their guardian.