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Police Scotland announces new campaign to combat online child abuse

18 April 2019 Written by Davidson Shirley Solicitors Category: Criminal Law

#StopItNow is the new hard-hitting campaign from Police Scotland that directly addresses predators who attempt to engage with children online for sexual purposes.

Police Scotland has teamed up with Stop It Now! Scotland, a national child protection charity based in Edinburgh, which provides support services to individuals and their families with problematic sexual thoughts and those at risk of sexually offending. The campaign has been developed to tap into the biggest fears of such offenders – being exposed as a sexual predator – the impact of their actions on their family, and the personal consequences of committing these offences.

Between April 2018 and February 2019, there were almost 1,600 crimes of an individual communicating with a child online for sexual purposes, an increase of 192 offences from last year’s figures. The most recent statistics reveal that investigations by Police Scotland resulted in almost 70 per cent of the perpetrators being arrested or charged. Of the 1,583 offences recorded in 2018/19, 98 were reports of grooming or attempting to groom, 86 (90 per cent) of which were detected.

Gillian MacDonald, lead for Crime and Protection in Police Scotland, stated:

“Perpetrators of online child abuse are single-minded, targeting children using messaging apps. Offenders come from all walks of life, all age groups and are predominantly men. Most don’t believe they will get caught.”

National Manager of Stop It Now! Scotland, Stuart Allardyce, spoke about the 2019 campaign:

“This campaign seeks to drive home the message that the online grooming of children and young people is illegal and causes huge harm to the victims. There are no grey areas – whether it is sexual conversations with young people online, an attempt to solicit sexual images from them or trying to meet up. All of these things are illegal.”

The campaign, which launched on the 18 March, will run for four weeks and will include adverts across all social media channels. Last year’s campaign saw a significant rise in traffic to the Stop It Now! Scotland webpage, from 607 to 4,385 in the three months following the campaign.

Contact our Criminal Defence Lawyers Lanark, Motherwell & Strathaven, Scotland

Any criminal activity online, especially those involving a minor, are taken very seriously. It is crucial that you seek professional legal advice and a robust defence strategy. Contact Davidson & Shirley solicitors today via the online enquiry form to see how we can help you.

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