Serious child sex abuse is rife across Britain, with young attackers re-enacting scenes of extreme pornography they have seen on their mobile phones, MPs were told yesterday.
People were in denial over the extent of the problem even though it was happening in every "town, village or hamlet" and thousands of children had been abused, Sue Berelowitz, the Deputy Children's Commissioner, said.
"We should start from the assumption that children are being sexually exploited right the way across the country," she said. "It is very sadistic, it is very violent, it is very, very ugly."
Ms Berelowitz, who is conducting a two-year study into the issue, said she was concerned about the role that social-networking websites and new technology played in the exploitation of children and cited a series of graphic crimes where they had been used.
In her evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee, Ms Berelowitz reported:
* One child was lured across London after being befriended online, only to be met by a group of eight boys who repeatedly raped her in a park. A second group then took her to another park where she was again repeatedly attacked. Ms Berelowitz said such events were "quite common".
* A very young girl was raped over several days by a group of teenagers who summoned their friends to join by using a mobile phone.
* A man in his 40s befriended 1,000 girls aged 12 to 14 on a social network site after masquerading as a boy.