Crime audit 2016 – increase of sexual crimes online against children

Date: 4th October 2016
Category: Children in situations of exploitation

Based on key findings regarding cyber-crimes, the new crime audit published in September by the HMICS has made child and young people-specific recommendations for Scotland.

The aim of the audit was to assess the state, efficiency and effectiveness of crime recording by Police Scotland and the extent to which practice complies with the Scottish Crime Recording Standard and Counting Rules. The audit also assessed arrangements for the management, governance and internal auditing of crime recording. This audit follows similar audits of crime recording carried out by HMICS in 2013 and 2014.

The results of the Crime Audit 2016 is aimed at providing the public and key stakeholders with up-to-date information on which to base their assessment of the accuracy of crime statistics and will highlight to Police Scotland areas of good practice as well as areas for improvement. Through the audit, the MHICS also sought to assess the extent to which previous recommendations regarding crime recording have been implemented by Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority.

Key findings specific to children and young people are that:

  • 11.4% of the sexual incidents audited had a cyber element, of which a significant proportion involved children;
  • Children and young people are increasingly experiencing sexual crime online via commonly used apps on their smartphones and tablets.

Recommendation 5 of the audit report therefore calls for the Scottish Crime Recording Board to consider the extent to which current crime recording practice adequately captures the scale of cyber-enabled sexual crime and associated victimisation, particularly for children and young people.