The messages were made as threats stating that they would harm her or her family if she did not comply with the group’s requests.

Novelda’s Guardia Civil has detained two men (25 and 26 years) and a 24-year-old Spanish woman as suspected offenders for threats, coercion and sexual abuse of a disabled person through messages via WhatsApp.

A few months ago, Alicante’s Civil Guard received complaints from a mother for threats via the Whatsapp social network to her 30 year old daughter who has a limited intellectual capacity. The woman said that her daughter had been displaying signs of worry and concern for several days, so she asked what was wrong to be told that she was receiving insults and threats from a Whatsapp group, and that she was very frightened.

In view of the seriousness of the allegations, Alicante passed the information to their collegaues  in Novelda from where the threats were thought to originate.

Apparently, like many young people, the girl had established a “digital” friendship with a 25 year old man through social networks. The two had never met but they maintained regular contact through a popular site.  

After several months exchanging messages, the man decided to create a Whatsapp group to make fun of the girl. The group included two other people who he had also met on social networks but who had never met each other in person

In this way, the creator of the group, another 26-year-old man living in Valencia, and a 24-year-old woman from Alicante, began to abuse the girl by asking her for videos and photos of her naked and of a sexual nature. In the messages there were also insults referring to both her physical and her mental disabilities.

The messages were made as threats stating that they would harm her or her family if she did not comply with the group’s requests.

Occasionally one of them posed as a bully from the Russian mafia and sent her audio messages, using a Russian accent, threatening to kill a family member. She became more and more frightened so she agreed to send compromised pictures.

The Civil Guard was eventually able to gather sufficient evidence, and has now arrested the two men, aged 25 and 26, and the woman, 24, as alleged perpetrators of sexual abuse, coercion, threats and humiliation to a person with limited abilities.

The three detainees appeared before a magistrate last week following which they were released on bail pending a further court appearance where charges will be formally brought.

Tips for responsible mobile use

The Civil Guard advises those responsible for minors or those needing special care to take into consideration the danger of their participation in these type of sites and groups. You have to make them understand that not everything they see on the net is true, not all of the people meet with are trustworthy, since they are rarely who they say they are.

Also, it is necessary to educate them to take special care and to instruct them to take extreme precautions when dealing with “new friendships” and most importantly, you have to give them the confidence to be able to tell their parents or their guardians should they have any concerns.