Sexual Exploitation of children and ICT

Responses to Child Solicitation/Grooming Prof. Alisdair A. Gillespie De Montfort University, UK This Session 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

Grooming is neither new nor particularly hitech. How does an offender abuse a child? 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. 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 dont get children, nice men do. Create a situation where the child acquiesces Online threats The Internet allows for a degree of anonymity. Quayle & Taylor You cant 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. Child Solicitation/Grooming Place in International Law. Instrument OPSC CoE Sexual Exploitation CoE Cybercrime EU Directive

Legal: International Law 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). Legal Difficulties: Proving intent. What are material steps? Thought crime?

Proactive or Reactive? Online Threats Some changes in grooming behaviour. There appears some evidence that less meeting and more on pornography. Difficulty where law focuses on meeting a child. Legal: International Law

The EU Directive is the only international instrument that appears to have recognised this directly. Member states shallensure that an attempt, by means of information and communication technology, to commit the offencesby an adult soliciting a childto provide child pornography depicting that child is punishable. (Article 6.2) Other instruments arguably cover it through Still limiting: procuring child pornography. Cyber-sex? The Law in England & Wales 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. Law in England & Wales s. 10 s. 12 Causing/inciting Causing/inciting a a child child to to engage engage in in sexual sexual activity activity Criminalises Criminalises the the invitation invitation to

to a a child child to to engage engage in in sexual activity. sexual activity. Causing Causing a a child child to to watch watch a a sexual sexual act. act. Includes Includes sending sending pornography pornography (adult

(adult or or child) child) to to a a child. child. s.14 Arranging Arranging or or facilitating facilitating the the commission commission of of an an offence. offence. An An inchoate inchoate offence offence that that criminalises

criminalises the the arrangement arrangement of of an an offence offence that that will will lead lead to to a a child child sex sex offence. offence. s.15 Meeting Meeting a a child child following following grooming.

grooming. Intentionally Intentionally meeting meeting a a child child to to have have sexual sexual relations relations with with it it following previous meetings or communication. following previous meetings or communication. Child Solicitation/Grooming 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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