DOZENS of Glasgow school-age children have been arrested in connection with a sex crime in the past year.

Rapes, sexual assaults, assault with intent to rape and indecent assaults were among the charges levelled against more than 70 city children.

At least one child a week was held in connection with a sex attack, according to our figures.

Our investigation revealed an 11-year-old child was arrested in connection with a sex crime in October last year.

Police in Glasgow arrested 72 children, between the ages of 11 and 17 during the past year, figures released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed.

Since June 2014, detectives have investigated dozens of rapes and sexual assaults involving child suspects.

Pupils of primary school and secondary school age are among those arrested.

Julie Dynes, team manager of NSPCC Glasgow Service Centre, said: "Sexually violent and harmful behaviour does not exist in a vacuum, it can have its roots in an often complex mix of disrupted attachment, emotional and physical neglect and sometimes, though not always, sexual abuse.

"These acts are shocking, but the behaviour can be turned around, especially if addressed early.

"If we can identify the tendency towards inappropriate sexual behaviours earlier on, undertake a good assessment and get children the individual treatment they need, we can help prevent abuse before it has a chance to begin while at the same time eliminating costs for the future.

"Without adequate support, the effects of sexual abuse can last a lifetime so it's essential that survivors of abuse receive the right help to overcome their experiences."

A breakdown of each specific offence is not available, but the 72 youngsters were arrested in connection with Group 2 offences, which include rape, assault with intent to rape, indecent assault and sexual assault.

While these children are barely over the age of criminal responsibility, they will appear before a Children's Hearing panel over their alleged sex offences.

Our statistics also reveal three 12-year-olds from Glasgow who are alleged to have been involved in sex crimes.

Ms Dynes added: "In 2014, figures obtained by the NSPCC under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act showed over 8000 under 18s were accused of sexual offences against other children in the last two years.

"Children and young people who behave in a harmful way also need assessment and treatment, rather than just being condemned as criminals in need of incarceration.

"In many of these cases, beneath the label of abuser there can be a child who remains in need of love and protection."

Detective Superintendent John McKenzie, from Great Glasgow Division's Public Protection Unit, said: "There are well established multi agency child protection arrangements in place in relation to child victims' sexual abuse that include Police, Health, Education and Social Work.

"In addition, similar multiagency arrangements exist in respect of those accused who are children.

"Our priority is the safety and wellbeing of the child and young person.

"They will always be placed at the centre of our decision making to ensure a proportionate response.

"However, where allegations of criminal conduct are made Police Scotland will robustly investigate.

"If convicted they could potentially become a registered sex offender.

"The effect of this may impact on their family, their friends and their future - they could be excluded from certain types of employment. "They may be monitored by the police and partner agencies through the MAPPA process."