Image-based sex abuse doubles in five years, new crime figures show

According to the Scottish Government’s annual crime report, more than 17 incidents a week were recorded.

New Scottish Government crime figures show image-based sex abuse has doubled in five years iStock

The number of cases where someone discloses or threatens to disclose an intimate image has more than doubled in less than five years, new figures have revealed.

According to the Scottish Government’s annual recorded crime report, police in Scotland recorded 912 incidents last year – a rate of more than 17 a week.

That compares to 421 in 2017/18, with the trend steadily increasing over the years.

Last year there were 530 cases where an intimate image was disclosed, and a further 382 incidents of the threat to disclose an image.

The analysis of the crime statistics was published in the Scottish justice and social affairs publication, 1919 Magazine.

Politicians and charities have called for tougher action on those committing image-based sexual abuse.

A spokesperson for Victim Support Scotland told 1919: “The figures surrounding the increase in cases of image-based sexual abuse are significant.

“Sharing private sexually explicit images online or offline, regardless of the intent, is a criminal offence.

“It is a violation of privacy and many victims often feel humiliated, traumatised and ashamed.”

The organisation added that some victims may feel too embarrassed to report the incident to the police, but stressed to anyone affected that “the offender is solely responsible for this type of crime”.

Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Jamie Greene said those convicted of threatening to or disclosing intimate images should be dealt with severely.

He said: “Those who commit such appalling acts deserve serious punishment, and my thoughts are with all victims.

“This type of crime can be particularly traumatic for victims as it often involves betrayal by someone they had trusted.

“So it’s imperative that they are thoroughly supported when they interact with our justice system.

“We should also focus on prevention as sex crimes are at an all-time high under this SNP government.

“Tackling this rise should be one of their top priorities, as well as supporting victims when they’re brave enough to report such crimes.”

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