Internet porn blamed for rise in U16 sex offenders

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THE “easy availability of internet pornography” has been blamed for more than twice as many children facing sexual assault charges in the last year, according to campaigners.

National figures revealed by the Crown Office showed that boys charged with rape has reached a five-year high and it is claimed they show that there is an increase in sexual aggression in youngsters.

The number of sexual assault cases by boys rose from 71 to 142 last year while the number of rapes by underage males also went up by 58 – more than double the figures for 2010.

Police figures show an increase in underage sex attackers

 

And even the figures relating to sexual attacks by girls under the age of 16 has doubled.

Sandy Brindley, national co-ordinator at Rape Crisis Scotland, said: “One concern we have had for a long time is about the easy availability of internet pornography – which would previously have been classed as hardcore – which celebrates violence against women, who are being raped and seemingly enjoying it.

“If this is where young men are getting their information it’s nonsensical to think it’s not going to have an impact.”

Glamorisation

Ms Brindly said that the glamorisation of hardcore porn has changed the way kids think about sex and it could be a link to the increase in the number of sex attack in minors.

She added: “This does back up that there appears to be an alarming increase in sexual crime by young people, and young men in particular.

“Fifty-eight rape allegations is extremely concerning. It is possible that part of the increase could be due to the broader definition of rape, but you would expect sexual assault would go down as a result.

“In fact it has doubled, which definitely suggests there is areal increase.”

The Sexual Offences Act (Scotland) that came into force in 2010, widened the definition of rape in that it can now include offences against men and other forced sexual acts.

Intercourse with a child under 13, who according to the law is too young to give consent, is now automatically classed as rape.

 

Education

According to the figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request, there are differences in statistics across the country.

Strathclyde and Fife Police recorded no change in the number of catalogued offences.

Central Scotland had an increase from nine to 22 and Grampian, while its number of rapes stayed the same, noted an increase to 25 assaults in 2011-12 – it’s highest figure in the last five years.

Dumfries and Galloway Police had a slight increase in sexual assaults and in Tayside figures showed three of fewer rapes per year with 20 or more sexual assaults in underagers.

But with 316 sex offenders in the last five years, Lothian and Borders figures hold nearly 14% of the total number of crimes in that category.

But while there is an alarming increase there is also a call that proper education rather than criminal prosecution would be better at tackling children sex-offenders.

Ruth Stark, manager of the Scottish Association of Social Workers, said: “I think it’s a myth that young people are becoming more sexualised.

“I would suggest we are equally worried about these things in the 1970s – the difference is we recognise it more now.

“It’s a concern that consensual sex is being criminalised – we need to be careful of that.

“Criminalising children instead of educating them about safe practices is a big issue.”

 

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