Sharp rise in sex crimes stats

Young peo­ple shar­ing in­de­cent phone im­ages sees jump of 70%

Lennox Herald - - NEWS - Lor­raine Weir

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

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