A leading children’s worker has called for the victims of webcam blackmail to be put on suicide watch.

Daljeet Dagon of charity Barnardo’s said those targeted for “sextortion” - often boys as well as girls - needed wraparound support to handle the shame of potential or actual exposure online.

The expert said such care was not - according to Barnando’s clients - routinely put in place to protect vulnerable youngsters.

Ms Dagon said: “The feeling of embarrassment and shame can be overwhelming for a young person. A multi-agency suicide prevention plan should be developed.

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“I think adults are underestimating the impact of children being ashamed and embarrassed. We underestimate how real it is for young people.”

Ms Dagon was speaking three years after Fife teenager Daniel Perry took his own life after being conned in to taking part in a sexual encounter on Skype with somebody he thought was a girl of his own age. The Crown Office is still seeking the extradition of a Filipino man in connection with the case.

Overseas organised crime “sextortion” groups are understood to have stepped up their efforts to target victims in the UK in recent years.

In a typical scam, a good-looking women, perhaps from South-East Asia, will befriend a man or boy on chat rooms and build up what the victim will think is a trusting or even long-term relationship. The woman will then entice the man or boy to commit a sex act on camera and then she or another part of the crime group will use this material to blackmail their mark.

Ms Dagon stressed that even adult victims of such crimes should be watched for suicidal tendencies. Boys - often experiencing their first intimacy with a woman - and men will be suffering both loss of what they thought was a relationship and the fear of internet exposure.

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She said: “You are talking about adults with mental health issues or learning disabilities. Or people who are just sad with poor emotional stability.”

Child and youth workers are also worried about the risk of self-harm to girls who are the victims of revenge porn - or even their own actions in posting intimate images online.

Speaking after a major new Police Scotland conference on violence prevention in Glasgow, Ms Dagon described a client who recently threatened to kill herself after her parents discovered that she had posted pictures “quite innocently” to try and win friends.

Scottish prosecutors and police officers, Ms Dagon said, were trying hard not to criminalise young people involved in such actions.

UK authorities have suggested that sextortion doubled last year. Scottish police sources stressed that the crime is still widely unreported. They do not know its true scale.

This year a new offence of disclosing or threatening to disclose an intimate image came in to force. This should give some measure of the scale of sextortion and revenge porn.

Police Scotland said that 114 such crimes reported from the law coming in to effect in July until the end of August.

Sextortion is one of a number of new crime threats discussed at the inaugural Police Scotland Violence Prevention Conference in Glasgow on Wednesday.

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After a decade of falling violent crime, overall figures have started stabilising over the last year or so. Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams suggested that some crime stats may have to rise, just to reflect a reality, such as sextortion, previously not picked up by official figures.

It will be up to the police, he said, to contextualise a needed rise in reporting. He said: “We have to be honest.”

He added: “The world around us is changing and so is the nature of violent crime.

“While we still work hard to prevent physical violence and knife crime we must recognise the growing threat of issues like sextortion, corrosive substance attacks and the effect of adverse childhood experiences.

“Many incidents now occur in private spaces or online and this makes it more challenging to identify and prevent. As violence changes, so must the way we respond to it.”