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.’’
Country Fire Authority units are at the scene of a fire on Leithen St in Shepparton this afternoon.
Mulwala Thirds full forward Gus McMillan kicked his 100th goal for the season on Saturday.
Murchison and Tatura SES units were two of 26 Victoria State Emergency Service volunteer units to receive an allocation of new equipment this week as part of the annual AAMI equipment handover program.
Dr Tali Barrett, a Bendigo GP and chair of Loddon Murray Mallee Medicare Local, has backed a confronting new advertising campaign Livelighter which warns of the danger of ‘toxic fat.’
The Rochester Mural Festival will feature murals similar to ones displayed in Sheffield, Tasmania.
Girgarre Primary School students relate what the best book is they have read and why.
Moving ceremony on a cold Seymour night.
A commemorative plaque to mark 100 years of Berrigan Red Cross has been unveiled outside the Berrigan RSL Club.
Lillian King has celebrated her 100th birthday, surrounded by family members and friends.
Tocumwal defeated in Picola and District Football Netball League seniors action on Saturday, with Strathmerton taking a convincing win.
An announcement of NSW Government support for the re-opening of the Deniliquin Abattoir was made in Deniliquin this afternoon.
A $100 million investment program will recommence following parent company Coca-Cola Amatil's decision today to invest $78 million into SPC Ardmona.
She has hypoplastic left heart syndrome and Benalla residents have rallied to raise money to pay for Poppy's ongoing surgical treatment.
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