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Getting to Grips with Sexual Grooming? The New Offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003

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In recent years, there has been increased societal concern regarding the dangers posed to children by sexual abuse and other related acts. For the main part, this article examines the new offence of meeting a child following sexual grooming under Section 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. I will address the question of whether the introduction of this offence is likely to meet the Government's aim of providing greater protection for children against behaviour associated with sexual abuse. In particular, I will consider how difficult it will be to prove the existence of a harmful ulterior intent in order to make out the offence and why the Government has opted to create this specific offence rather than utilise the existing law of criminal attempt. I will argue that the new offence is a step in the right direction and that the current protection offered to children will be significantly extended by its introduction.

Keywords: Child Protection; Child Sexual Abuse; Sexual Grooming; Sexual Offences Act 2003; Ulterior Intent

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2004

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