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.’’
The Bureau of Meteorology has released a severe weather warning for regions that include Shepparton. It includes damaging winds and the potential for flash flooding.
Pete O’Neill and Abby Hicks are national champions at the completion of the 2015 Australian Barefoot Championships held last week.
GVAC women Rachel Pratt and Jacquie Fitzpatrick showed the men, and the large crowd at Rushworth Speedway on Saturday, March 28, they have what it takes when competing in the men’s classes.
Two international backpackers have taken aim at contractors who hired them to pick fruit in the region without payment.
Rochester boxing coach Chris Trewin and his team of dedicated trainers have been hitting the bag for more than six months and the results are beginning to show.
Local MP calls for community applications
A special event will take place at Pioneer Park on Sunday.
Jerilderie's born and bred Madeleine Harris has been recognised for her banking and finance career
Concerned Costerfield residents had the chance to voice their antimony health concerns last week after an independent facilitator was appointed.
Strathmerton clinched a win in the high-scoring game against Mathoura on the weekend in the PDFL North West competition.
Deniliquin swimming dynamo Stephen Dalzell has finished 13th overall in his preferred event at the Australian Age Championships.
Murray Goulburn Co-operative has set a date for a special meeting to vote on a new capital structure.
Emergency services are on scene of a two-car crash on the Midland Hwy, near Benalla. Two people have died. Traffic is being diverted.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.