Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Child sex rings.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 293 doi: (Published 19 July 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;293:183
  1. N J Wild,
  2. J M Wynne


    Details of 11 child sex rings identified in one working class community were obtained by interviewing investigating police officers and examining health and social services records. The rings contained 14 adult male perpetrators and 175 children aged 6-15 years. Most perpetrators used child ringleaders to recruit victims; others became a "family friend" or obtained a position of authority over children. Secrecy was encouraged and bribery, threats, and peer pressure used to induce participation in sexual activities. Offences reported included fondling, masturbation, pornography, and oral, vaginal, and anal intercourse. Eleven perpetrators were successfully prosecuted; all but one received a sentence of three years or less. Behavioural problems were common among those children who had participated for a long time. Child sex rings are difficult to detect and may be common. Many children are seriously abused as a consequence of them.