McInnes: Strategy needed on tackling sexting risks

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes has today called on the Scottish Government to adopt a national strategy to tackle the risks arising from sexting.

A report published today by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) and The Care Inspectorate states that the phenomenon is common practice across the country, with 44% of British girls aged 13-17 having sent intimate images of themselves to others.

The report also warns that sexting, defined as the posting of self-generated intimate images on social media networks, is now considered a way of life by some young people and could increase the vulnerability of young people at risk of exploitation.

Ms McInnes believes that the adoption of a national strategy would support the bill currently being considered by the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee that could legislate against revenge porn in Scotland.

Commenting on the report Ms McInnes said:

“It’s a huge concern that this report has highlighted that sexting has become a common phenomenon across the country.

“Many young people may not realise the risks they face by sharing intimate images of themselves online. Many are also not aware when they are being exploited or coerced into doing something they wouldn’t normally do.

“As a member of the Justice Committee I am currently considering the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Bill which, if passed, could legislate against revenge porn in this country.

“It is also important however that both girls and boys are educated further on the dangers posed by the internet and the anonymity it affords its users. I hope the Scottish Government and partners in local authorities and Police Scotland take forward the report’s recommendation to develop a strategy addressing these risks."

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