A special unit to hold children as young as 10 who carry out sex attacks is being considered by ministers amid a rise in convictions.

Youth Justice Minister Phillip Lee said recent figures had shown more and more children were committing "dark and very troubling" rapes and sexual assaults, with easy access to extreme online pornography fuelling the disturbing trend.

Giving evidence to the justice select committee, Dr Lee told MPs he was so concerned he had asked the Ministry of Justice to examine creating a special wing in the youth custody estate to hold them.

They would be given tailored support, education and therapy by specialist staff to help them tackle their behaviour.

"There has been a small uptick in sexual crimes by young people – we had an 11-year-old convicted of rape last year – and this is quite concerning," Dr Lee told MPs on Tuesday (7 November).

"We are at the early stages, but I've encouraged the department to start thinking ahead in terms of do we need a special unit for children like this."

In a speech last year, Dr Lee warned that easy access to extreme online pornography was fuelling a rise in the number of rapists who are children.

"We are seeing an internet age driving greater access to more worrying imagery online," the former GP told a youth justice conference.

"In the extreme, the sexualisation of youth is manifesting itself in younger conviction ages for rape."

The number of young people aged 10 to 17 convicted of sexual offences rose from 368 in 2012/13 to 472 in 2015/16.

Last year, IBTimes UK reported on the shocking case of two boys from Luton who were convicted of having raped a seven-year-old girl when they were aged just 10 and 11.

The same year saw an 11-year-old boy from Blackpool become one of Britain's youngest rapists after he admitted attacking a nine-year-old boy 15 times. He was sentenced to four years' detention.