A new criminal offence

A new offence relating to online grooming came into force in April 2017 and can be found in section 15A Sexual Offences Act 2003. This section makes any intentional communication with a child by a person aged 18 or over for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification where that communication is sexual, or the intention is to elicit a sexual response, a criminal offence. If you have been charged with a criminal offence, our Criminal Law Team at Emery Johnson Astills can assist you.

According to section 15A, the ‘communication’ can take various forms. It can be written, verbal or through images. It can be carried out in person, by mobile phone or via the Internet. The definition of ‘communication’ is wide and can be satisfied by any other means such as a gaming system. In addition to this, the offence is committed once the message of communication has been sent, even if the intended recipient has not received it. If you need advice, Emery Johnson Astills can assist you.

This offence carries a maximum sentence of two-year imprisonment, if convicted the offender will be automatically subject to notification requirements for 10 years where a sentence of more than 6 months is given. If you need advice regarding any of the issues discussed within this article, please contact the Criminal Law Team at Emery Johnson Astills on 0116 255 4855.