A study conducted by researchers at Queen's University and the University of Ulster has found that more than 10 percent of teenagers in Northern Ireland have been approached by an adult who was seeking some form of sexual contact.
The study also found that more than 75 percent of such teenagers were under 16 years of age when such an approach was made while a sizable portion were under the age of seven years , leading to concerns of sexual grooming among Northern Irish children.
Over 780 teenagers across Northern Ireland took part in the study with researchers finding that in more than 30 percent of such cases, sexual contact did occur. Some of the other findings reveal that nearly 7 percent of the teenagers were given drugs or alcohol before being sexually abused while more than 65 percent admitted that they had not informed about the incident to anyone in authority.
"The fact that a sizable proportion of respondents had been affected by grooming or attempts to take advantage of them sexually, mostly before they had reached the age of consent, reminds us about the vulnerability of young people", lead researcher Dr Dirk Schubotz said.