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Reporting Scotland Down, once more, turns any crime figures into a scare. This morning and throughout the day we’ll hear:

More than 5 000 sexual offences against children were recorded in Scotland in the last year. That’s according to the charity NSPCC. The figures represent a 30% increase in the past four years. Some of the cases will be non-recent offences.

This does not mean that sexual offences against children are increasing. Despite the horror we feel in reading this, it’s important to remember that increases in the reporting of any crimes, especially those where victims often feel ashamed, tend to reveal a greater confidence in coming forward due to improved policing, support and expectations of justice. Also, some of these 5 000 cases are based on crimes which first took place up to 50 years ago and since. They cannot be used to indicate a recent trend.

In sharp contrast:

See this from OFSTED in 2019:

Children in residential settings are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse by adults working in those settings who are responsible for their welfare. Yet the Inquiry has noted that there are no professional registration requirements in place for staff, other than social workers, working in children’s homes in England, unlike in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.


Even residential care for children have “rogue traders”

Sarah Smith:

‘It’s very convenient for the SNP to be able to criticise Westminster for this when they have devolved powers to privatise the Scottish care system too but won’t!’