Caught in the Net! Technology Assisted Harmful Sexual Behaviours

McEwan, Donna (2018) Caught in the Net! Technology Assisted Harmful Sexual Behaviours. [Report]

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    Abstract

    Between 2011/12 and 2015/16, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) experienced a 34% increase in the number of sexual offences reported to them by a child against a child. Scottish Analytical Service’s (2017) review of ‘Other sexual crimes’ highlighted a significant increase in offences which were cyber-enabled (where the internet has been used as a means to facilitate the offence) from 38% in 2013/14 to 51% in 2016/17. Approximately 1/4 (24%) of cyber enabled crimes of ‘Communicating indecently’ and ‘Cause to view sexual activity or images’ were committed by an individual under 16 years against a victim who was also under 16. A further 28% of these crimes committed were by an individual aged between 16 and 19 against a victim who was under 16. This compares to 8% and 5% respectively, of non-cyber enabled crimes of ‘Communicating indecently’ and ‘Cause to view sexual activity or images’. This suggests that a considerable proportion of online sexual offences are committed by individuals aged 19 or under. This is congruent with more general trends about sexual crime which suggest around 1/3 of sexual abuse is perpetrated by children and adolescents.