The number of reported sex crimes against children under 11 in England and Wales has risen by 16%, according to a report by the NSPCC.

Victims were aged as young as one in the cases, as the research revealed 24% of children attacked were in the youngest age group. In comparison to the previous year's 4,772, there were 5,547 reported incidents, as reported by data from 41 police forces.

Chief executive Peter Wanless said: "Sexual abuse continues to be a terrible scar on our society which won't heal by itself.

"Our campaign has started to make inroads in giving children the protection they need but there is obviously still a long way to go.

"The police figures are worrying because they should be going down not rising, although the 'Savile effect' may be resulting in more people reporting abuse.

The NSPCC also stated that 46% of parents had not tackled the issue.

Mr Wanless added: "Whatever the reason, this highlights the urgent need to tackle this problem from an early age and parents and carers can play an important role by ensuring their children are armed with the knowledge to recognise the wrong kind of behaviour and keep themselves safe."

The NSPCC launched The Underwear Rule campaign to tackle the issue of sexual abuse.

In statistics related to the campaign, 1 in 5 of all recorded sexual offences against children involve under-11s and 9 out of 10 children knew their abuser.

1 in 3 children who were sexually abused by an adult did not tell anyone else at the time.

They campaign's aim is to publicise three objectives to children of a primary school age: "Their body belongs to them, they have a right to say no and they should always tell an adult if they're upset or worried."

The campaign is trending over social media sites, with the hashtag #talkPANTS.