Online sex crimes rise as rape arrests decrease

Police sign
. Photo: Wikimedia/M.Minderhoud

While the "classic" form of in-person sexual offenses is slowly decreasing, sex crimes on the internet is on the rise, according to the police.

Last year the police received 1,084 reports of rape - a decrease of 5 percent. The number of sexual assaults (1,710) and incest (503) also decreased compared to the previous year. According to the police, the solving rate for rape is relatively high, with slightly less than half of the cases being solved. Walter van Kleef, the national project leader for morality at the police, believes that this is probably due to the fact that more than 80 percent of the cases involves a perpetrator that the victim knows.

Online sex crimes are increasing. The most common online sex crimes are sexting and grooming. In sexting young people are asked to send sexually explicit pictures of themselves. In grooming perpetrators pretend to be someone else on the internet, such as a girl or boy of the same age as the victim, and ask for sexually explicit pictures. "Young children especially are unaware of the risks. A picture on the internet can take on a life of its own, with all the consequences." says Peter Reijnders, Program Manager combating Child Pornography and Child sex tourism.

Most young people know someone whose picture has been circulated to strangers. Victims can report their photos being circulated without permission, but sexting is difficult to prosecute. "It is not a separate offence." according to Reijnders. "Circulating a nude photo of a minor is actually child pornography. But it can not be the intention to accuse a young person of such a heavy offence after sexting. A conviction for a sex offense has far reaching consequences."

Tags: