‘Grooming’ is the generic description currently used to describe the conduct of a paedophile or group of paedophiles when preparing a child or children for a meeting with the intention of committing a sexual offence.
The methods of approach adopted include social media of every description, dating applications, ‘phone, text messages or any other means aimed at arranging a meeting for acts of a sexual nature or eliciting a sexual response.
John Veale of Kangs Solicitors comments upon the law prohibiting such activity.
The Law | Kangs Sexual Offences Team
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 (‘the Act’) provides:
Section 14 – a person commits an offence if:
- he Intentionally arranges or facilitates something he intends to do, intends another person to do, or believes that another person will do, in any part of the world and
- that such intention involves sexual activity with a child, causing or inciting a child to engage in a sexual activity, engaging in a sexual activity in the presence a child or causing a child to watch a sexual activity.
Section 15 – a person aged 18 or over commits an offence if that person:
- has met or communicated at least once and subsequently intentionally meets with a child or travels with the intention of meeting the child anywhere in the world or the child travels with the intention of such a meeting in any part of the world.
- intends during the meeting or after it doing with the child any activity that involves the commission of an offence of the nature as described under Section 14.
Section 15A – a person aged 18 or over commits an offence if:
- for the purpose
sof obtaining sexual gratification intentionally communicates with a child,
- the communication is sexual or is intended to elicit a response of a sexual nature from the child
- the child is under 16 and the person does not reasonably believe that the child is 16 or over.
Possible Defences | Kangs Solicitors National Sexual Offences Team
It may be a defence:
Section 14 – if the making/facilitating a meeting is for the purpose of protecting the child and not for sexual gratification.
Sections 14, 15 and 15A – if there is a reasonable belief held by the accused that it is not a child involved but someone of 16 years or above.
Penalty Upon conviction | Kangs Solicitors Sexual Offences Advisory Team
On summary conviction before a Magistrates’ Court:
- section 14/ 15 a maximum prison sentence of 6 months and/or a fine to the statutory maximum;
- section 15A a maximum prison sentence of 12 months and or a fine.
On indictment before a Crown Court – a maximum prison sentence of:
- section 14 – 14 years
- section 15 – 10 years and
- section 15A – 2 years.
Who Can I Contact For Advice & Help? | Kangs Criminal Defence Solicitors
It is imperative that you instruct an experienced solicitor as soon as you become aware of an allegation being made. Crucially, an experienced solicitor should be present in interview at the police station whether it is an interview by appointment or under arrest.
To discuss an allegation of a sexual offence in further detail please contact: