Task­force to deal with soar­ing sex cy­ber crime as young women suf­fer

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By CATRIONA WEB­STER

A for­mer Crown Of­fice boss will lead a task­force set up to pre­vent sex­ual crime in­volv­ing young Scots.

Jus­tice Sec­re­tary Michael Math­e­son said Cather­ine Dyer would bring a “wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence” as he an­nounced the ap­point­ment to MSPS at Holy­rood.

The ex­pert group was cre­ated in re­sponse to re­cent re­search show­ing the num­ber of sex­ual cy­ber crimes recorded by po­lice has soared over the past three years.

More than three-quar­ters of vic­tims are fe­male and more than half are un­der 16. The ex­pert group will bring to­gether voices that in­clude the Scottish Youth Par­lia­ment, Youth Link and Rape Cri­sis Scot­land. The first meet­ing will take place early next year.

The an­nounce­ment was wel­comed by MSPS.

Mr Math­e­son said: “Ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy are greatly ben­e­fi­cial for the way we all live our lives, but also present new risks for harm. We have re­sponded through new laws crim­i­nal­is­ing the shar­ing of in­ti­mate images as well as strong pub­lic in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns.

“Pre­ven­tion is key, with fig­ures show­ing more must be done for young peo­ple now. In the last year, more than 80 per cent of vic­tims of on­line sex­ual crime were fe­male, with an av­er­age age of 14, and 96 per cent of per­pe­tra­tors were male. We need to bet­ter un­der­stand why some young men are mo­ti­vated to be­have in this way and how we can pre­vent it.”

Ms Dyer, who chaired a re­view of child pro­tec­tion sys­tems in 2014, said: “Shar­ing un­der­stand­ing of the na­ture and causes of behaviours that af­fect chil­dren and young peo­ple in the dig­i­tal age, and cre­at­ing so­lu­tions to re­duce the num­bers of harm­ful in­ci­dents, is clearly a pri­or­ity.”

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