30 July 2016
Police in Scotland announced on Friday that more than 500 children have been identified as potential victims of online sexual abuse, while 77 people have been charged after a police investigation.
Malcolm Graham, Scotland Assistant Chief Constable, said in Edinburgh that the operation to tackle online child sexual abuse resulted in the identification of more than 500 children, aged between three years and 18 years.
He said the children were either victims or potential victims of online predators, and announced the recovery of 30 million images of abuse, which has resulted in the arrest of 77 people.
Graham said that nearly 400 charges had been laid, including rape, sharing indecent images of children and grooming for sexual purposes.
“Others are sexual extortion, indecent communication with children, possession of a firearm and drug offences,’’ he said.
The officer lamented that online child sexual abuse is a national threat; “the reality is that it is happening now, not only in Scotland, but across the world, to children of all ages, from infants to teenagers.’’
Graham said that the children were not only sexually abused and exploited, but when an image or video clip is shared or viewed, they are being re-victimised.
Mark McDonald, Scottish Childcare and Early Years Minister, said that children and young people should be able to enjoy and learn from the Internet.
He, however, said that they should “know what to do and who to go to if they feel at risk’’.