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Prof. Alisdair A. Gillespie De Montfort University, UK.

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Presentation on theme: "Prof. Alisdair A. Gillespie De Montfort University, UK."— Presentation transcript:

1 Prof. Alisdair A. Gillespie De Montfort University, UK

2  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.

3 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?

4 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”

5  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.

6  Place in International Law. Instrument OPSC  CoE Sexual Exploitation CoE Cybercrime  EU Directive

7  CoE Convention on Protection of Children. ◦ Each party shall take the necessary legislative 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).

8  Difficulties: ◦ Proving intent. ◦ What are “material steps”? ◦ “Thought crime”? ◦ Proactive or Reactive?

9  Some changes in grooming behaviour.  There appears some evidence that less meeting and more on pornography.  Difficulty where law focuses on meeting a child.

10  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?

11  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.

12 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

13  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.

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