Sexual offences on the rise amongst the young

Mary Sharpe

The number of people in Scotland aged 17 or under accused of sexual offending rose from 350 to 422 between 2011/12 and 2015/16, an increase of 21 per cent, an education summit has heard.

In that same age group, there were 1,600 victims of sexual offending, an increase of 34 per cent, while there was a similar rise in the number of children accused of a sexual offence against another child.

The findings were revealed at a recent summit hosted by Solicitor General, Alison Di Rollo of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

John Swinney, deputy First Minister and Education Secretary, gave a key address and called for “an integrated government solution” to the surging problem.

Mary Sharpe, CEO of The Reward Foundation and a non-practising advocate (pictured), told Scottish Legal News: “The year-on-year rise in juvenile sexual offending is extremely worrying. While there is widespread ignorance about what behaviours are illegal, there is also ignorance about the impact of internet pornography.

“This is why our charity, The Reward Foundation, provides lessons as to why behaviours such as sexting, coercive sex and revenge porn are illegal.”

She added: “Most importantly, we teach how internet pornography trains the teen brain to want to carry out such acts. The effect of a criminal conviction is devastating.

“Accordingly the right educational package is necessary to put a halt to this dismal rise in offending.”

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