Preventing the criminalisation of children who have been victims of group-based sexual exploitation involving grooming tactics-understanding child sexual exploitation as enslavement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

244 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The United Kingdom has been beset by a series of moral panics concerning grooming gangs sexually exploiting young girls. These moral panics derive from a number of well‐publicised cases, the most infamous of which took place in Rochdale, Greater Manchester. Further grooming rings have been exposed in Rotherham, Oxfordshire, Oldham, Derby, Huddersfield and Newcastle. Grooming children has been criminalised by section 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and section 67 of the Serious Crime Act 2015. These offences apply to online and offline communication, including social media. Adult groomers face up to two years in prison and being automatically placed on the sex offenders register. These laws are intended to protect children from abuse and exploitation. However child victims who have been abused by gangs and coerced into offending may still be liable for prosecution for any offending they have engaged in. These offences will also be recorded on their criminal records. Fear of being prosecuted may stop victims coming forward and prevent survivors from moving on with their lives. This article will examine how the law can be reformulated to ensure protection of children from sexual exploitation and also ensuring children are not charged for committing crimes whilst being groomed or coerced. The article will consider whether the Modern Slavery Act 2015, and in particular the statutory defence available under section 45 of the 2015 Act, potentially offer a means of protecting victims of grooming without the risk of criminalisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-380
JournalThe Journal of Criminal Law
Volume83
Issue number5
Early online date23 Sep 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Preventing the criminalisation of children who have been victims of group-based sexual exploitation involving grooming tactics-understanding child sexual exploitation as enslavement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this