'170 Percent Rise in Student Sexual Assault Complaints in Last 9 Years'

Ahead of sexual abuse awareness week Education Ministry says 612 students contacted them on abuse in 2009.

The last nine years have seen a 170 percent rise in students appealing to the Education Ministry's sexual assault prevention center, a report published by the ministry officials said on Thursday.

The report also stated that some 612 high-school students used services provided by the Education Ministry's information unit for the prevention of sexual assault in the course of 2009.

Although the figures, released ahead of sexual abuse awareness week, stated a slight drop in the petitions to the unit as compared to the number of appeals made a year before, the Education Ministry report indicated a 170 percent rise in the amount of student petitions to the unit regarding sexual assault queries or complaints during a nine year period.

Meanwhile, police earlier Thursday released information on a 12 teenagers from the north who were arrested on suspicion of raping a young girl for over the course of four years, starting when the girl was 10years old.

The suspects, aged 14 to 17, were arrested over a week ago, and were interrogated by social services and police regarding the allegations, which include rape and sexual assault.

Several of the suspects have also been questioned for threatening and extorting the victim.