Grooming – Changes to the Law

If it’s not Jimmy Saville, it’s Rolf Harris and if it’s not Rolf Harris, it’s Adam Johnson. Each of these men guilty of offences involving children and yet are all from different generations. Here at Emery Johnson Astills Solicitors we know all too well about offences of this nature.


In order to tackle the increasing rise in sexual offences against children, there is an offence of ‘meeting a child following sexual grooming’. In essence this legislation makes it a crime to befriend a child on the internet, or by other means, and meet or intend to meet the child with the intention of abusing them.


More recently legislation was passed by parliament as an aid to outlaw adults communicating with children to groom them, as a prelude to carrying out sexual abuse. This legislation can be found under Section 67 of the Serious Crime Act 2015. However due to delays with the government enactment, child safety experts including the NSPCC have said the police are left powerless to use this new law. Alan Wardle, head of policy at the NSPCC said;


“At a time when police are under crushing pressure to tackle this type of crime it is frankly astonishing they are being held back by what seems to be administrative sluggishness in the extreme. The prime minister gave his backing for this law. Surely it doesn’t need another seal of approval for it to come into force immediately.”


He also said;


“It’s quite incredible that a year after this new legislation, which the NSPCC campaigned for was passed it has still not been implemented meaning many children are at risk of being targeted by sexual predators. Online grooming is a rapidly growing problem and one of the biggest threats to young people. Last year calls to our ChildLine service from children who had been affected by it rose 10% to 3,150.”


It is highly likely that due to the NSPCC in effect ‘calling out’ the police and parliament, more will be done to tackle this kind of offending.


If you find yourself arrested for an offence of this nature, or any other offence Emery Johnson Astills Solicitors can help throughout the course of the proceedings, from the Police Station through to a Court Case. We offer professional legal advice and have extensive experience in this area of law.


Emery Johnson Astills are experts in criminal law, and we are able to assist 24 hours of the day whether at the police station or at Court. If you need advice or assistance from the criminal department at Emery Johnson Astills, please contact us on 0116 255 4855.