An average of more than five child sex offences are recorded by the PSNI every day, including nearly 100 crimes in just one year where the alleged victim is aged three or under.
Police figures highlighted by the NSPCC show that in 2016/17, there were 1,875 child sex offences in Northern Ireland.
Broken down by age, a sickening 40 were recorded in cases were the child was aged two or under, while 48 were recorded where the child was aged just three.
Across the UK the number of offences rose to a record 64,667 in 2016/17, a 15% increase on the previous year.
In Northern Ireland the total number of offences rose from 1,809 the previous year.
The charity points out that the true number of child sex offences, which includes rape, sexual assault and grooming against children, could be much higher since not every crime is reported.
Colin Reid, policy and public affairs manager for NSPCC Northern Ireland, said the figures showed the PSNI were “making real progress”.
He said the figures show “just how extensive child abuse is.”
He added: “These new figures suggest the police are making real progress in how they investigate sex offences against children. These abhorrent crimes can shatter a child’s life, leaving them to feel humiliated, depressed, or even suicidal. ”