Presentation on theme: "Prof. Alisdair A. Gillespie De Montfort University, UK."— Presentation transcript:
Prof. Alisdair A. Gillespie De Montfort University, UK
Examines the response of the criminal law to child sexual exploitation. Focuses primarily on the issue of child solicitation/grooming. Also considers the response where children generate harmful content.
Child Solicitation/Grooming Attack ◦ No previous identification of the child. ◦ No intention to abuse in the future. ◦ Extremely high-risk. Abuse ◦ Offender unlikely to want to be caught. ◦ Likely to want to create a pattern of abuse ◦ Control required. Grooming is neither new nor particularly hi- tech. How does an offender abuse a child?
Child Solicitation/Grooming Controlling a Child ◦ Negative control Abuse of power (teacher, cleric etc.) Threats to child (violence, care etc.) Threats to those known to the child ◦ “Positive” control Befriending a child McLachlan notes that “monsters don’t get children, nice men do.” Create a situation where the child “acquiesces”
The Internet allows for a degree of anonymity. Quayle & Taylor “You can’t go up to a boy in the street and say… do you fancy having sex… whereas you could online.” Yet we also know that (increasingly) it is not by subterfuge.
Place in International Law. Instrument OPSC CoE Sexual Exploitation CoE Cybercrime EU Directive
CoE Convention on Protection of Children. ◦ Each party shall take the necessary legislative measures...to criminalise the intentional proposal, through information and communication technologies, of an adult to meet a child who has not reached the age [of consent]...for the purpose of committing any of the [sexual] offences...where this proposal has been followed by material acts leading to such a meeting. ◦ EU Directive (Article 6.1 has similar wording).
Difficulties: ◦ Proving intent. ◦ What are “material steps”? ◦ “Thought crime”? ◦ Proactive or Reactive?
Some changes in grooming behaviour. There appears some evidence that less meeting and more on pornography. Difficulty where law focuses on meeting a child.
The EU Directive is the only international instrument that appears to have recognised this directly. ◦ Member states shall…ensure that an attempt, by means of information and communication technology, to commit the offences…by an adult soliciting a child…to provide child pornography depicting that child is punishable. (Article 6.2) ◦ Other instruments arguably cover it through procuring child pornography. Still limiting: Cyber-sex?
England (famously) has a ‘grooming’ offence (s.15, SOA 2003) but this is somewhat misunderstood. ◦ It arguably does not criminalise grooming but the results of grooming. ◦ It is focused on the issue of a meeting. ◦ It is only one of a patchwork of offences that relate to grooming.
Causing/inciting a child to engage in sexual activity Criminalises the invitation to a child to engage in sexual activity. s. 10 Causing a child to watch a sexual act. Includes sending pornography (adult or child) to a child. s. 12 Arranging or facilitating the commission of an offence. An inchoate offence that criminalises the arrangement of an offence that will lead to a child sex offence. s.14 Meeting a child following grooming. Intentionally meeting a child to have sexual relations with it following previous meetings or communication. s.15
Tackling the solicitation/grooming of a child requires a multi-faceted approach. Traditional approaches concentrated on the meeting with a child but this is not the only form of exploitative situation. ◦ Some studies suggest that once a child has sent indecent material / posed in front of a webcam the footage is then used to blackmail the victim into contact offending. Recognition of the portability of technology.