Scots child abuse referrals up 60% amid calls to make social media chiefs ‘liable’

Posted: 25th January 2022

Child protection campaigners have told ministers they want social media company executives to be made criminally liable for putting people at risk online as it emerged there has been a 60% rise in online child sex abuse and exploitation referrals over three years.

Police Scotland have admitted it needs to improve its approaches to violence against women and girls as official analysis seen by the Herald revealed that the number of recorded sex crimes soared by 13.4% in just one year, with reported rapes increasing by 12%.

There were 7,519 recorded sex crimes between April and September of 2021 – 890 more than the same period the previous year.

Of those the number of rapes rose from 1097 to 1229 over the same period.

Scotland’s top law officer Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain has launched a review into the prosecution of sexual crimes in Scotland with sexual offences now accounting for 70% of the casework of Scotland’s High Court prosecutors.

Susanne Tanner QC, who has recently been appointed assistant principal crown counsel, will conduct the review.


And Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham, who has executive responsibility for crime and operational support, has said that there is a “need to drive improvement” in efforts to tackle violence against women and girls in all its forms but it requires investment.

In an analysis he said: “It is clear from the outset that improving our response will require commitment and significant investment. Such investment, in terms of finance and resource, will enable a focus on developing a proactive approach to tackling Violence Against Women and Girls supported by effective partnerships, prevention strategies and technology.

“We acknowledge concerns which have been articulated about the whole justice system response, and are committed to enhancing our structures for hearing and responding to the views and experiences of victims.

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