Young people particularly vulnerable to becoming victims of sex crimes or cyberbullying, police officer says.FIONA BROOM November 27, 2012 4:01am
Shepparton police are investigating up to six cases a week involving sexual crimes and bullying perpetrated through Facebook.
In a Shepparton County Court case where a 19-year-old man pleaded guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl, Crown prosecutor Andrew Moore said the word ‘‘Facebook’’ now came out in three-quarters of prosecution cases.
The pair communicated via Facebook and their sexual relationship was discovered because of comments the man wrote on the girl’s page.
Shepparton youth liaison officer Leading Senior Constable Matthew Pattison said cases reported to police included people from all walks of life. But he said young people were the most vulnerable to cyberbullying and to predators using the social medium to find victims.
Leading Sen Const Pattison has spent almost all of the past two months at Shepparton’s schools talking to students about the consequences of bad online behaviour.
‘‘Unfortunately, kids don’t see the consequences of tomorrow, let alone 10 or 20 years’ time,’’ he said.
The short-term consequences of cyberbullying can have devastating results.
Leading Sen Const Pattison said a former resident of the region took her own life recently after experiencing online bullying.
He said teenagers were often shocked at the potential punishments for online crimes, as many expected ‘‘a slap on the wrist’’.
Under the recently introduced Brodie’s Law, people found guilty of serious bullying can be jailed for up to 10 years.
Parents needed to monitor their child’s internet use to make sure they were not being bullied or groomed by a predator, Leading Sen Const Pattison said.
‘‘Nearly every kid has a computer in their bedroom — who is in there with them?’’ he said.
He said unwelcome attention online or harrassment needed to be reported.
‘‘It’s not something to hide from,’’ he said.
One of the main points the youth officer tries to communicate to teenagers is nothing is ever really deleted once it goes online.
Teens who send sexually explicit images of themselves, known as sexting, run the risk of those pictures being passed on, while bad behaviour online can carry repercussions later in life.
A Facebook profile is the ‘‘perfect resume’’ for potential employers.
‘‘Facebook these days, it’s like a diary,’’ Leading Sen Const Pattison said.
‘‘It gives you a good insight into what a person thinks and their view of the world.’’
Street Rider Night Bus signs have been placed in Shepparton’s central business district to encourage people to use the service that has been cruising along for more than five years.
Police are currently at the scene of a double fatal collision involving two cars in at the Cahill Road, Gilmore Street and Woods Road intersection in Yarrawonga.
Tatura Community House held its annual High Tea fundraiser at the facility on Tuesday, with a full-house present to enjoy a sumptuous morning tea, good conversation and relaxing time together.
The Echuca construction team behind Junction Moama has taken out one of the top honours at a regional building awards ceremony.
Rochester Historical and Pioneer Society hosted an afternoon tea to recognise long-standing members Barrie and Flora Griffin and John and Margaret Harley.
About 7600 residents served by Goulburn Valley Water are affected by a boil-water advisory.
Scone Equine Hospital relaunches local veterinary practice.
A beauty pamper day has raised a whopping $18k to assist local lady Terri Bevan with her ongoing medical costs associated with her brain tumour
A planning scheme amendment to allow the expansion and redevelopment of the IGA supermarket at Heathcote has been approved by the Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne.
Cross-border rivals Cobram and Barooga football netball clubs will contest the 38th Cobram Courier Shield this weekend.
An exciting three-hole playoff saw Virginia Lange take a narrow win in the Deniliquin Ladies Golf Championship last Thursday.
The G-MW Murray gravity irrigation system has received 35 per cent and the Goulburn system 42 per cent of allocation from July 1.
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