THE majority of sexual assaults against children are committed by someone they know, new NSPCC research has revealed.

Figures obtained by the charity have show that an offender is a member of the child’s immediate family in nearly a quarter of cases. A stranger is responsible for reported sexual abuse in just seven per cent of cases.

Information provided by West Mercia Police also shows that in 39 per cent of incidents, the offender was related to the victim.

That’s more than one in three of all reported cases of sexual assaults against children in West Mercia, for which the force was able to provide data on the relationship.

The NSPCC is now calling on the Government to collect and publish this information centrally. While the focus on child sexual exploitation and grooming gangs is welcome, most sexual abuse still happens in the home.

Sandra Lescott-Robinson, NSPCC Regional Head of services for children and families for the West Midlands, said: “There is sometimes the perception that child sex offenders are strangers - sinister figures lurking in the shadows. But the reality is that most victims know their abusers. They are more likely to be a relative, neighbour or family friend rather than someone they have never met before.

“Many of the victims are threatened or intimidated into silence with some thinking no one will believe them or that their revelations will break-up their family.”