Derry’s young people risking prosecution with indecent images

A craze of ‘sexting,’ where young people send often explicit images of their sexual partners to each other via text, is happening regularly among teenagers in Derry and the North West, it’s been revealed.

The trend is just one of the findings of extensive research carried out by Derry based sexual abuse support organisation NEXUS, who are hoping to target some of the North West’s most vulnerable young people in a groundbreaking new project.

The shocking practice of teenagers sharing images of a sexual nature of one another is just one of a number of ways they are leaving themselves open to exploitation, according to the local charity. They say their research, carried out among young people locally, reveals that incidents of sexual abuse are on the rise particularly across social networking sites and with the use of mobile phone technology.

The Clarendon Street organisation say they’re keen to focus on young people in care and those who have learning difficulties but will also be visiting a large numbers of schools and community centres to address what they see as a widespread problem.

They claim young people in the city remain largely unaware of sexual boundaries and are confused around issues of consent.

Referring to the worrying trend of ‘sexting,’ Development Worker Mary McLaughlin says while many young people leave themselves vulnerable by being photographed those who take and send the images could unknowingly be facing prosecution.