Rise In Child Indecent Images Cases

1 September 2016, 07:41 | Updated: 1 September 2016, 07:44

Nearly 2,000 offences involving indecent images have been reported to police in Scotland over the last three years.

The NSPCC say figures showed there were a total of 1,904 indecent images offences in Scotland since 2013, the largest dealt with by a single force across the UK.

The total figure for the UK stands at 21,651 and the charity is calling on social media networks to help tackle it.

Parents are also being urged to make children aware of the dangers of sending pictures to partners.

Police Scotland said it is committed to keeping children safe.

Joanna Barrett, Policy and Public Affairs Manager for NSPCC Scotland, says ''These figures clearly show that there is a growing problem of people viewing child abuse material and more needs to be done to tackle the issue.

''We want to see companies who operate online to prioritise this issue by committing significant expertise and resources to preventing the publication and distribution of these images.

''Social network providers and other technology platforms must realise that they are the key enablers of online child sexual abuse and make a serious commitment to tackling it.''

Ms Barrett added ''Children need to be taught about the dangers of sending sexual pictures of themselves so they don't find themselves at risk of harm and abuse.

''Young people who are caught 'sexting' put themselves at risk of sexual exploitation, grooming and cyber bullying, whilst they could also face the prospect of a criminal record if they are reported to police.

''That's why we have recently issued advice and guidance to parents about how to talk to their children about sexting, as well as what to do if they have been sharing sexual images of themselves.''

Detective Chief Superintendent Lesley Boal said: ''All children have a right to protection against abuse, exploitation, neglect and violence. The impact of online child sexual abuse can be wide ranging and have a long-lasting and potentially life-changing effect on the child.

''The possession of or sharing of images depicting the sexual assault of children or indecent images of children is not a victimless crime, it is child sexual abuse.

''Police Scotland proactively tackles the many forms of online child sexual abuse, our objective being to identify children who have been the victim of or who are at risk of online sexual abuse and identify perpetrators/predators who pose a risk to children online.

''Our message for perpetrators is very clear, Police Scotland employs the latest technology to investigate online abuse and trace offenders.''