Sharp rise in sex crimes stats
Young people sharing indecent phone images sees jump of 70%
Young people sharing indecent images on mobile phones has contributed to a massive jump in sex crime across West Dunbartonshire.
And police have admitted the trend is going to stay that way as they reveal they have dealt with 27 more incidents in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2016 – a rise of nearly 70 percent.
Chief Superintendent Hazel Hendren will present the facts to members of the West Dunbartonshire Community Planning Management Board tomorrow (Thursday).
A report which will go before members reads: “Cyber related sexual offences, including indecent communications and image distribution/sharing continue to increase, a trend likely to continue due to the fast pace change of technology, in particular mobile phones and their increased use, particularly amongst children and young persons.”
The divisional commander confirms that officers are working closely with the council, specifically in schools, to try and prevent young people from becoming victims.
Officers have also attributed the rise in the number of sex crimes, now double the five-year average, to the continued spike in historical reporting of sex crimes brought about following high profile cases in the national media.
Some 40 percent of sexual offences they dealt with between April and the end of June this year are historic - this includes crimes of rape and assault with intent to rape which jumped from seven to 19 incidents. The report goes on to say: “The fact that victims are finding the courage to report these crimes, some many years after the event, is to be welcomed.
“The reasons for this are wide ranging, however, there is no doubt that media reporting of high profile cases and historic crimes gives victims confidence to come forward.
“This allows investigations to be carried out and potentially bring perpetrators to justice.
“It also allows for victims, with their consent, to be referred to partner agencies who can offer support and counselling.”
A West Dunbartonshire Council spokeswoman said: “In conjunction with our partners, we run a range of programmes to promote cyber safety to staff and pupils in all of our schools, early learning and childcare centres.
“These include Police Scotland’s Choices for Life Initiative, Be Smart Internet Safety programme and West Dunbartonshire’s Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood programme.
“We continually review and update the programmes and materials used and a further programme is being developed to raise awareness among parents, pupils and the wider community using social media.”
Presentation Chief Superintendent Hazel Hendren