Police warn teens “sexting” could lead to criminal prosecution
Nottinghamshire Police’s sexual exploitation investigation unit has sent letters out to every school in the county notifying them that anyone under 18 years of age who is ‘sexting’ is seen as “distributing sexual material to minors” in the eyes of the law, and could face prosecution.
A Childline survey of 13-18 year olds revealed:
- 60% said that they had been asked for a sexual image or video of themselves
- 40% said they had created a sexual image or video of themselves
- Over half had received a sexual photo or video
Det inspector Martin Hillier of Nottinghamshire Police wrote to the schools due to “grave concerns over the amount of referrals Nottinghamshire Police are receiving on a daily basis.”
Children between 10 and 18 years of age sending explicit texts to each other (including written texts, photos and videos) via phone or on social networking sites are warned that they could also face time on the child sex offenders register.
Detective sergeant Jan Rusdale said: “They could end up on the register for a couple of years. When they come to getting a job this would then count against them. We just want to get the message out there that this is a very serious offence. We need parents and children to realise this.”
Childline service manager at the East Midlands base in Nottingham, Gaynor Birnie, said that the most common contacts to Childline were those requesting help when sexting had “escalated beyond their control.”
Childline have created the app ZipIt in response to the rise in young people sexting. The app aims to inform and encourage young people to talk about the issues surrounding sexting.