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The number of sex attacks carried out by juvenile offenders in Ireland has trebled in the past year, shocking new figures released this week show.

Juvenile crime in Ireland has also shown a doubling in the number of robberies perpetrated by juveniles (between the ages of 10 and 18) and Irish police say that the majority of these incidents now involve the robbery of smart phones.

The latest 2010 report of the Garda (Irish Police) Diversion Program shows the total number of offences carried out by juveniles rose by an alarming 14 percent in 2010.

Irish police and the Irish rape crisis center have suggested that easier access to hard-core pornography might be a factor in the increase of sex attacks, although they offered no evidence to support the claim.

A spokesperson for the Irish police told The Irish Examiner this week that the dramatic rise in sex crimes is due to an increase in both the incidents and reporting.

The number of such offences rose from 74 in 2009 to 195 last year. There were 102 sex offences in 2008, 87 in 2007 and 82 in 2006.

'It is terribly worrying to see such a big jump like that. It is absolutely shocking,' Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, the chief executive of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, told the Examiner.

'There is no doubt that easy access to hard-core pornography on phones, on computers, is a factor. There is research that supports that conclusion.

'When someone is exposed to hard-core pornography, it definitely desensitises them, particularly at a young age, when young people are developing.'
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