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Facebook and Twitter Named in Sex Attack Investigations

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7:01am 3rd May 2013

Pirate FM has learnt police have investigation fifty alleged sex attacks with links to Facebook or Twitter in Cornwall and Devon in a year.

Statistics from the southwest force show the social networking sites were mentioned in the modus operandi (MO) of cases including rape, grooming and child pornography during 2012.  

At least 31 of the allegations related to under-sixteens, including six described as "sexual activity involving a child under thirteen."

Devon and Cornwall Police said: "The details do not reflect the extent that Facebook or Twitter was used as a social media tool in the commission of the offence. These types of social media may have only been used in the initial contact between an offender and a victim, or more extensively throughout the course of an offence.

"A current Force priority is to protect the vulnerable within the communities of Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. As a result of the the Force has dedicated officers which work within the field of Public Protection who are trained in investigating internet and social media offences, and in safeguarding the vulnerable. The Force also continues to work with partner agencies across the Peninsula to provide the highest possible standard of investigation in respect of rape and sexual offences and to promote confidence in the victims to report such incidents."

Here are five tips to help you protect yourself from predators on the internet...

  • Check your privacy settings on sites like Facebook and Twitter. This will let you control who sees what details on your profile.
  • Do not accept any friend requests from people you do not know on Facebook.
  • Do not post personal information such as where you are going and when, on social networks.
  • Monitor how much your child uses the internet, in particular sites like Facebook and Twitter.
  • Talk to your children or other family members about how they are using social networking sites.

Dan Pugh, Managing Director of Redruth-based firm Piran Technology, said: "I think it's something that's going to become more and more common, and certainly something that parents should take more and more notice of. Every adult that I know is actively involved on social networking as it stands, so there's absolutely no reason to ignore that their children are also involved.

"I think alot of parents are not IT savvy and as a result, don't tend to spend enough time getting to know what their children are up to and looking into. These days, children are very IT literate and capable of getting to alot of places."

7:01am 3rd May 2013

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