Law experts have backed the use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, stating that they play an important role in reporting sexual abuse and assaults.
Australian police forces were early adopters of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, regularly using them to publish appeals for help and access potential witnesses and tip-offs.
Experts say that social media is also playing a key role in the reporting of crime, particularly sex offences where victims may be ashamed or afraid to speak face-to-face with authorities.
Carolyn Worth, manager of the Centre Against Sexual Assault's (CASA) southeast branch, says young people in particular feel more comfortable disclosing incidents via social media.
"It has been our experience that social media has assisted people to disclose sexual assaults that they would not feel comfortable discussing either in person or over the telephone," the Herald Sun quoted her, as saying.
"It has been amazing how many people have accessed our websites and social media and have disclosed sexual assault and asked for information and assistance," she added.
According to the paper, police officials said that the social media has also revolutionized the way authorities fight crime.
"Having the ability to use Facebook and Twitter has changed the way some cases are run," the report quoted one police officer, as saying.
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