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Scantily-clad teenagers at risk as sex crime soars

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: April 21, 2009

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PARENTS are being blamed for letting their drunk, scantily-clad daughters as young as 13 roam the streets of Bodmin following reports of a steep rise in sexual offences.

There have been 27 sex crimes recorded in the town during the past year.

Police admitted they were disappointed at what amounts to a 145% increase on the previous year, but moved to allay fears the town was becoming dangerous for women.

However they and local councillors raised concerns young drunken girls were putting themselves in potentially dangerous situations, with calls for more parental responsibility.

A meeting of Bodmin Town Council last week was told alcohol-fuelled girls as young as 13 who dressed to look older than their age were putting themselves in vulnerable situations.

Cllr Lance Kennedy told colleagues: "Bodmin is a lot safer now than it was four years ago, and there is no need for young women to be scared when they go out.

"But they need to be mindful of how much alcohol they consume, and mindful of the company they keep.''

Cllr Linda Spear agreed, adding: "These parents should take more attention of how their youngsters are dressing and behaving outside the home, especially if they are drinking under age. It's very worrying when I see young women who look as if they are aged 19 and you find out they are only 14."

Home Office guidelines now require various crimes to be recorded as sexual offences, including internet pornography, which is partly responsible for the increase, according police.

Inspector Ian Marshall, who is in charge of policing in Bodmin, said this week there had only been a handful of assaults which were deemed to be of a serious sexual nature, but other types of criminal activity had to be factored into the statistics.

He said high-profile media reports of sex cases had also made people more confident in reporting them.

"Sexual offences cover a wide spectrum and all have to be recorded,'' said Inspector Marshall.

"It can be people downloading pornography from the internet, someone exposing themselves to the public, young people having indecent images on a mobile phone or someone pinching someone's bottom.''

"We had one man admitting 10 offences of flashing, and that amounted to 10 separate crimes having to be recorded.

"In the vast majority of cases, we are not talking about rape and other very serious offences.''

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    anon, ex Bodmin citizen  |  May 27 2009, 10:21PM

    The focus of this article is utterly tasteless. Surely it is not women and girls, but men who should modify their behaviour in this instance? That is assuming that these crimes were all committed against women. It might be more accurate to say that it is the criminal, not the victim who is responsible when a crime is committed. If these local councillors are quoted correctly then they are being irresponsible. It doesn't matter that a girl who is 14 looks like she might be 19; if she were 19 would it be ok to sexually assault her? I agree absolutely that parents should take more responsibility here - perhaps more responsibility in bringing up sons as decent non-violent people? It's a massive simplification and, in fact, a huge cop-out to suggest that drunkenness and skimpy clothing are the main factors in an increase in sexual crimes. Perhaps it might be more pertinent to look at this country's horrendous rape conviction rate and to look at how our justice system is failing women. One man can rape a lot of women if he isn't caught or if he is let off because 'she was drunk'. Oh, and one more thing - do you employ a proofreader? You might want to consider it...

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    Anon, Not Cornwall  |  May 18 2009, 9:56PM

    I don't think anyone is trying to apportion blame here - the emphasis of the article seems to be on how to help the more vulnerable (i.e. younger) women steer clear of this kind of trouble. No, it's not their fault that the way they dress and the amount of alcohol they consume makes them more likely targets for sexual assault, and No, it doesn't excuse the perpetrator's actions. But if there's a way to lower the risk of such an assault taking place, and one that (arguably) won't infringe on a girl's right to go out and have a good time, then surely it makes sense to take advantage of it.

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    Wyn Pheby, Newquay  |  April 25 2009, 6:58PM

    I think this report is slanted in the wrong direction. Whilst I think that parents need to be responsible for their children regarding dress & behaviour, it is the men who perpetrate sex offences who are to blame for the rise in sexual attacks, not the parents or the girls who should not be victims of attacks regardless of what they are wearing. The message needs to go out that severe punishment will result for these attackers and no excuses about the victim's clothes etc will be accepted. This is the line this newspaper should be adopting. A man has a choice about whether or not he attacks a girl. He is not a robot who can't help himself.

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    elizabeth, cornwall  |  April 25 2009, 8:33AM

    Are the local concillors going to blame racist attacks on the black people walking around the streets next?. This is bizarre.