An expert on child sexual abuse said the public has become more aware of female sex predators in recent years, but they still made up a tiny minority of offenders.
Dr Sarah Nelson, an Edinburgh University researcher, said women made up less than two per cent of sex offenders identified online. But she points out that many female sex offenders were likely to offend with a male partner – often at the man’s request.
Myra Hindley and Rose West were extreme examples, but Vanessa George was a more recent case, said Nelson.
George was jailed for at least seven years in 2009 for sexually assaulting up to 64 children as young as two at the nursery where she worked in Plymouth and then sharing images of the abuse online.
Dr Nelson said: “Many people around the country will remember Vanessa George’s name and crimes, but far fewer will recall that she and three other women responded to a request from a man called Colin Blanchard.
“He targeted 100 women to ask them to abuse children, film it and share the images online. Four women did as he asked, a very small percentage.
“They are remembered while he is not.”
She added: “Women do harm children. They tend to be the main carers. Most abuse is physical or emotional.
“It can also be sexual, but rarely. And it is even more rarely perpetrated by a woman solely for her own gratification.
“We have to be vigilant, but the vast majority of sexual predators are men.”
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