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Child Sex Offences 

Child Sex Offences
Chapter:
Child Sex Offences
Author(s):

Paul Connor

DOI:
10.1093/law/9780198806387.003.0023
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Subscriber: null; date: 15 August 2018

23.1 Introduction

This section deals with offences under ss. 9 to 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, as well as legislation covering indecent photographs of children. It highlights the fact that not all the offences covered in your syllabus have their own individual paragraph reference; rather, they are mentioned in the ‘Keynote’ areas that explain the law in action. This, in turn, emphasises the importance of the ‘Keynote’ areas for your study and revision.

23.2 Aim

The aim of this section is to explain criminal offences relating to the sexual abuse of children.

23.3 Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to:

  1. 1. Explain the offences connected with sexual activity with a child (ss. 9 and 10 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003).

  2. 2. State when an offence of sexual activity in the presence of a child (s. 11 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003) has taken place.

  3. 3. Identify key points from the offence of causing a child to watch a sex act (s. 12 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003).

  4. 4. State when an offence under s. 13 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (child sex offences committed by children or young persons) may be committed.

  5. 5. Outline the offence of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence (contrary to s. 14 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003).

  6. 6. Outline the offence of meeting a child following sexual grooming (contrary to s. 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003).

  7. 7. Identify the exceptions to aiding, abetting or counselling an offence involving or directed towards children.

  8. 8. Identify common factors relating to offences under ss. 9 to 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

  9. 9. Outline the offences connected with indecent photographs of children (s. 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1978 and s. 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988).

  10. 10. Apply your knowledge to multiple-choice questions.

23.4 Sexual Activity with a Child

23.4.1 Exercise—Several Scenarios

Examine the following scenarios and then complete the written exercises that follow them.

  1. 1. CLARKE (a 20-year-old male) approaches VICKERS (a 15-year-old female) in a cafe. The two strike up a conversation during which VICKERS tells CLARKE her age. CLARKE asks VICKERS if she would like to come with him to see his house and VICKERS agrees. At the house CLARKE and VICKERS kiss each other and CLARKE takes all of VICKERS’s clothing off. He inserts his finger into VICKERS’s vagina with her consent.

    1. a. How old must an offender be to commit this offence?

      • ____________________________________________________________________________________

    2. b. There are two relevant ages regarding the victim. What are they and what is the requirement regarding the older of the two ages?

      • ____________________________________________________________________________________

    3. c. What effect will VICKERS’s consent to the activity have with regard to this offence?

      • ____________________________________________________________________________________

    4. d. What would the situation be if VICKERS were 11 years old?

      • ____________________________________________________________________________________

  2. 2. CLARKE (a 20-year-old male) approaches VICKERS (a 15-year-old female) in a cafe. The two strike up a conversation during which VICKERS tells CLARKE her age. CLARKE asks VICKERS if she would like to come with him to see his house and VICKERS agrees. At the house CLARKE and VICKERS continue talking to each other and during the conversation CLARKE asks VICKERS if she would like him to put his finger in her vagina. VICKERS says, ‘I don’t know.’ CLARKE replies, ‘Go on, you’ll enjoy it once I’ve started.’

    1. a. Think about what CLARKE has done. What offence does CLARKE commit in these circumstances?

      • ____________________________________________________________________________________

    1. b. VICKERS replies ‘No’ and walks out of the house. Does it make any difference that no sexual activity has taken place?

      • Yes / No

    2. c. Imagine that instead of just chatting in the cafe, CLARKE asked VICKERS to come to his house and have sexual intercourse with his friend, FINCH. What effect would this have?

      • ____________________________________________________________________________________

23.5 Sexual Activity in the Presence of a Child

23.5.1 Exercise—Questions about the Offence

Try answering the following questions to form the basis of the definition of this offence. Your answers should have between one and four words in them (other than the answers to questions 6 and 7, where you will have more words in the answer).

  1. 1. What age does the offender have to be?

    • ____________________________________________________________________________________

  2. 2. What state of mind is required?

    • ____________________________________________________________________________________

  3. 3. What must the offender do?

    • ____________________________________________________________________________________

  4. 4. What kind of act must it be?

    • ____________________________________________________________________________________

  5. 5. What is the purpose of the act?

    • ____________________________________________________________________________________

  6. 6. He engages in the activity when?

    • ____________________________________________________________________________________

  7. 7. What has the offender got to know or believe?

    • ____________________________________________________________________________________

  8. 8. What age brackets must the victims fall into?

    1. i. _________________________________________________________________________________

    2. ii. _________________________________________________________________________________

23.5.2 Exercise—Section 11 Scenarios

Examine the following scenarios and decide whether an offence under s. 11 has been committed. Give a short reason for your answer.

  1. 1. GAUNT (a 25-year-old male) is standing outside a Portakabin, used as a changing room for under 16s who play football on a nearby field. GAUNT drops his trousers and to obtain sexual gratification he begins masturbating towards the Portakabin, believing that there are children inside who can see him. The Portakabin is in fact empty.

    • Section 11 offence committed?

    • Yes / No

    • Why / Why not?

    • ____________________________________________________________________________________

  2. 2. COPELAND and his girlfriend BONE (both 37 years old) are having a picnic in a secluded area of a campsite. They both believe they are alone and cannot be seen and begin to have sexual intercourse together. Unknown to either of them, NICHOLLS (an 11-year-old) is watching them.

    • Section 11 offence committed?

    • Yes / No

    • Why / Why not?

    • ____________________________________________________________________________________

  3. 3. THORNLEY (a 48-year-old male) is sitting in a steam room in a gym when PRICE (a 12-year-old female) walks in and sits opposite THORNLEY. THORNLEY pulls down his trunks and begins masturbating towards PRICE, believing she can see him and in order to gain sexual gratification. Unknown to THORNLEY, PRICE cannot see what he is doing because of the amount of steam in the room.

    • Section 11 offence committed?

    • Yes / No

    • Why / Why not?

    • ____________________________________________________________________________________

23.6 Causing a Child to Watch a Sex Act

23.6.1 Exercise—Basic Elements of the Offence

You should be able to answer the following questions based on your study of this section so far.

  1. 1. How old must the offender be?

    • ____________________________________________________________________________________

  2. 2. What age brackets do the victims fall into?

    • ____________________________________________________________________________________

The correct answers to the previous questions have been placed in the appropriate place within the definition of this offence (set out in the following), along with some hints as to the missing sections. Can you fill in the gaps?

23.6.2 Exercise—Images

Concentrating on the activity of the third person and the word ‘image’, answer the following questions (take it that all the other elements of the offence are satisfied).

  1. 1. The activity that the child watches can be live or recorded.

    • True / False

  2. 2. There is a requirement that the child needs to be in close physical proximity to the sexual act.

    • True / False

  3. 3. Which of the following would or would not qualify as an ‘image’ for the purposes of this offence?

Image

Not an image

A film

A photograph

A magazine

A 3-dimensional sculpture

A cartoon

A computer-generated picture

23.7 Child Sex Offences Committed by Children or Young Persons

This offence is mentioned in the ‘Keynote’ areas explaining ss. 9, 11 and 12 of the Act. The intention of this part of the Workbook is to draw your attention to the existence of the section.

You will have seen that in all of the offences examined so far (ss. 9, 10, 11 and 12) the age of the offender is always 18+. What happens when someone aged less than 18 commits one of these acts?

Section 13 deals with this situation by saying that the person will still commit an offence. However, the maximum sentence for an offender who is less than 18 is five years’ imprisonment.

23.8 Arranging or Facilitating the Commission of Child Sex Offences

23.8.1 Exercise—MARCOU Scenario

Look at the following scenarios. Has an offence under this section been committed?

MARCOU operates a sex-tourism business. HOPE approaches MARCOU and asks him if he can arrange for a 14-year-old girl to be made available to him to have sexual intercourse with. MARCOU tells HOPE that he can, but the abuse will have to take place in Thailand. HOPE tells MARCOU to go ahead with the arrangements and MARCOU books flights and a hotel for HOPE, and also makes arrangements for a 14-year-old girl to be made available to HOPE when he arrives in Thailand. MARCOU makes these arrangements in the belief that HOPE will have sexual intercourse with the girl when he visits Thailand. A week before HOPE is due to fly out to Thailand he is involved in a car accident and breaks his leg. He contacts MARCOU and tells him that he can no longer make the trip and to cancel all the arrangements.

  1. 1. Who, if anyone, has committed the offence under s. 14?

    • ____________________________________________________________________________________

    • Why / Why not?

    • ____________________________________________________________________________________

  2. 2. This offence can only be committed if the activities are to take place in the United Kingdom.

    • True / False

  3. 3. Arranging what ‘relevant offences’ would trigger the commission of this offence?

    1. i. ________________________________________________________________________________

    2. ii. ________________________________________________________________________________

    3. iii. ________________________________________________________________________________

    4. iv. ________________________________________________________________________________

    5. v. ________________________________________________________________________________

  4. 4. Does the fact that MARCOU only ‘believed’ that HOPE was going to have sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl make any difference?

    • Yes / No

  5. 5. HOPE never travelled to Thailand. What effect, if any, will this have on the case?

    • ____________________________________________________________________________________

23.9 Meeting a Child Following Sexual Grooming

23.9.1 Exercise—HOLLIS and KIRK Scenarios

Study the following scenarios. Answer the questions and provide an explanation for your answers where you are asked.

  1. 1. HOLLIS (a 20-year-old male) has a full-time job working as a section supervisor in a supermarket. He is in charge of a number of staff, some of whom are part-time. One of the part-time workers is SUMPTER (a 15-year-old female), who works in the supermarket on Saturdays. HOLLIS is aware that SUMPTER has a ‘crush’ on him and one Saturday she approaches him and asks him to go to a works party with her on the following Friday. HOLLIS agrees to go with SUMPTER and intends to have sexual intercourse with her at the party. HOLLIS phones SUMPTER on Thursday night and they talk about the party. On the Friday morning he phones her again and asks if he should take some condoms with him. SUMPTER tells HOLLIS that taking condoms will not be necessary as she will not have sexual intercourse with him; however, she will give him oral sex. HOLLIS travels to the party but SUMPTER does not turn up, as she is unwell.

    1. a. What age should the offender be?

      • ____________________________________________________________________________________

    2. b. What about the age of the victim?

      • ____________________________________________________________________________________

    3. c. How many times must the offender have met or communicated with the other person?

      • ____________________________________________________________________________________

    4. d. Does the fact that SUMPTER made the initial contact have any bearing on the case?

      • Yes / No

    5. e. The communication by the defendant with the other person must have some form of sexual content in it.

      • Yes / No

    6. f. What is a ‘relevant offence’?

      • ____________________________________________________________________________________

    7. g. SUMPTER did not turn up to the party. What effect(s) will this have?

      • ____________________________________________________________________________________

    8. h. Does HOLLIS commit the offence?

      • Yes / No

      • Why / Why not?

      • ____________________________________________________________________________________

  2. 2. KIRK (a 14-year-old male) lives next door to REDROW (an 18-year-old female). KIRK goes on holiday with his family to Spain for two weeks and REDROW is due to join them for the final week of the holiday. In the first week of his holiday, KIRK receives several text messages from REDROW telling him that she loves him and that she wants to have sexual intercourse with him when she arrives in Spain. KIRK sends several messages back to REDROW telling her that they do not have any type of relationship together and there is absolutely no chance whatsoever that they will have any sort of sexual contact. REDROW ignores these messages and when she flies out to Spain, she does so with the intention of having sexual intercourse with KIRK.

    1. a. Can a female commit this offence?

      • Yes / No

    2. b. The communications were sent from the United Kingdom to Spain. Does this make a difference?

      • Yes / No

    3. c. REDROW was travelling to Spain intending to have sexual intercourse in that country. Does this make a difference?

      • Yes / No

    4. d. There is no chance that REDROW could do as she intended. Does this make a difference?

      • Yes / No

    5. e. Does REDROW commit the offence?

      • Yes / No

      • Why / Why not?

      • ____________________________________________________________________________________

23.10 Common Factors

s. 9

s. 10

s. 11

s. 12

s. 13

s. 14

s. 15

Offender

18+

Offender

18+

Offender

18+

Offender

18+

Offender

UNDER 18

ANY AGE

Offender

18+

Victim

−16

Victim

−16

Victim

−16

Victim

−16

Victim

−16

Victim

−16

Victim

−16

Victim

−13

Victim

−13

Victim

−13

Victim

−13

Victim

−13

23.11 Exceptions to Aiding, Abetting or Counselling

In certain circumstances a person acting in the interests of a child may appear to be aiding, abetting or counselling one of the offences in the ‘?Sexual Offences Against Children’ section of your Investigators’ Manual.

This will not be the case if the person is acting to protect, prevent or promote the:

  • S

    Safety of the child (protect)

  • T

    Transmitted sexual infection (protect)

  • E

    Emotional well-being (promote)

  • P

    Pregnancy (prevent)

and not for the purpose of:

  • C

    Causing or encouraging the sexual activity

  • O

    Obtaining sexual gratification

  • P

    Participation

See Investigators’ Manual, para. 4.4.5

23.12 Indecent Photographs of Children

This section concentrates on the legislation in relation to indecent photographs of children under the Protection of Children Act 1978 and the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

Remember that a person will be a ‘child’ for the purposes of both of these Acts if it appears from the evidence as a whole that he/she was, at the material time, under the age of 18.

23.12.1 Exercise—s. 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1978

Answer the following questions relating to this legislation. Do not attempt to provide word for word answers; short notes/descriptions will be fine.

  1. 1. Apart from photographs, what other material is dealt with in this section?

    • ____________________________________________________________________________________

  2. 2. There are four ways that a defendant can commit the offence. What are they?

    1. i. ________________________________________________________________________________

    2. ii. ________________________________________________________________________________

    3. iii. ________________________________________________________________________________

    4. iv. ________________________________________________________________________________

  3. 3. There are two defences to this offence. What are they?

    1. i. _________________________________________________________________________________

    2. ii. _________________________________________________________________________________

  4. 4. The ‘Marriage and other relationship’ section provides a defence, but the defendant will have to satisfy four criteria. What are they?

    1. i. ________________________________________________________________________________

    2. ii. ________________________________________________________________________________

    3. iii. ________________________________________________________________________________

    4. iv. ________________________________________________________________________________

  5. 5. There are exceptions for criminal proceedings whereby a defendant is not guilty if he/she proves that:

    1. i. ________________________________________________________________________________

    2. ii. ________________________________________________________________________________

    3. iii. ________________________________________________________________________________

  6. 6. Using the information you have from the previous answers to assist you, examine the following scenarios and decide whether the defendant has committed an offence. Give reasons for your answers.

  7. 1. CUTLER is a delivery driver. He takes a sealed package from an office to the home address of GARGAN. He is stopped by the police as he walks towards GARGAN’s house. The package contains indecent pseudo-photographs of children.

    • Offence committed?

    • Yes / No

    • Why / Why not?

    • ____________________________________________________________________________________

  8. 2. FRIPP takes a photograph of his 17-year-old girlfriend, McQUEEN, with whom he is living in an enduring family relationship. The photograph is taken with McQUEEN’s consent. In the photograph McQUEEN is naked and sitting with her legs astride FRIPP’s friend, LOGAN.

    • Offence committed?

    • Yes / No

    • Why / Why not?

    • ____________________________________________________________________________________

23.12.2 Criminal Justice Act 1988, s. 160

This is the same as the offence under s. 1 of the Protection of Children Act except:

It relates to POSSESSION

There is an extra defence—photo/image sent to him without request and not kept for an unreasonable time

The exceptions for crime/Security/GCHQ do not apply

See Investigators’ Manual, para. 4.4.10.4

23.13 Conclusion

One of the major issues that candidates are concerned with regarding child sex offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 is the relevant ages for the offences. Having completed the exercises in this section, you should appreciate the similarities between some of these offences and as a consequence you should be confident regarding the age requirements. You should also see the connections with the previous section examining ‘Sexual Offences’, as the terms ‘touching’ and ‘sexual’ are significant components of many of the offences you have examined. You should now possess a good knowledge of most of the child sex offences applicable to the NIE syllabus (familial and protection issues aside).

23.14 Recall Questions

Try and answer the following questions.

  • When would a person be exempt from aiding, abetting or counselling a child sex offence?

  • What section deals with offenders who are under 18 years of age?

  • What is the definition of the offence of sexual activity with a child under 16?

  • What happens if a child consents to a s. 9 (Sexual Offences Act 2003) offence?

  • What must you show to prove an offence of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child (s. 11 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003)?

  • What is an ‘image’ for the purposes of a s. 12 (Sexual Offences Act 2003) offence?

  • What is a ‘relevant offence’ for the purposes of the offence of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence (s. 14 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003)?

  • What is the definition of the offence of meeting a child following sexual grooming (s. 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003)?

  • What is the relevant age for the offence under s. 15?

  • What is required if a defendant wishes to use the exception regarding marriage to a charge of possessing an indecent photograph of a child?

  • What are the two defences to a charge of taking an indecent photograph of a child?

23.15 Multiple-Choice Questions

Answers to these questions can be found in the ‘Answers Section’ at the end of the book. All explanations also include a reference back to the Investigators’ Manual 2018.

1. COLCOUGH (a 19-year-old male) approaches LEENEY (a 14-year-old schoolgirl wearing school uniform) while she is waiting for her mother to pick her up outside the gates of her school. COLCOUGH begins talking with LEENEY and after several minutes he asks her if he can fondle her breasts. LEENEY agrees but before COLCOUGH can do anything, LEENEY’s mother arrives, picks her daughter up and drives off.

Which of the following statements is correct with regard to the offence of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity (contrary to s. 10 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003)?

  1. A COLCOUGH does not commit the offence because LEENEY consented to the activity.

  2. B The fact that there was no sexual activity between COLCOUGH and LEENEY does not matter; COLCOUGH has committed the offence.

  3. C COLCOUGH does not commit the offence because he is under 21 years of age.

  4. D COLCOUGH commits the offence and, because LEENEY is under 16 years old, the offence is complete.

Answer _____________________________

2. MOORWOOD is a paedophile and derives sexual pleasure from masturbating in front of children. He visits a park and hides in some bushes near to a set of swings where SANDARS (a 14-year-old boy) is playing. MOORWOOD comes out from behind the trees, drops his trousers and begins masturbating.

With regard to the offence of sexual activity in the presence of a child (s. 11 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003), which of the following comments is correct?

  1. A MOORWOOD must be at least 16 years old to commit this offence.

  2. B Sexual gratification does not form part of this offence.

  3. C The offence is not committed in these circumstances as SANDARS is over the age of 13.

  4. D It is not necessary to show that the child was in fact aware of the activity in every case.

Answer _____________________________

3. TURNER (a 45-year-old male) is in his study at his home and is using the Internet to search for pornographic images. He is looking at a site where there are a number of still images of cartoon men and women having sexual intercourse. His nephew, MARTIN (who is 16 years old), walks into the study and sees the images. TURNER asks MARTIN if he would like to see some more of the images and MARTIN replies that he would. TURNER shows MARTIN more of the still cartoon images and obtains sexual gratification from showing them to MARTIN.

Considering the offence under s. 12 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (causing a child to watch a sexual act) only, which of the following comments is correct?

  1. A TURNER does not commit the offence because the images are still cartoons and not real-life moving images.

  2. B TURNER does not commit the offence because MARTIN is 16 years old.

  3. C It does not matter that the images are still or that they are cartoons, TURNER commits the offence.

  4. D The offence is not committed because TURNER was originally viewing the pictures on his own and did not intentionally show them to MARTIN in the first instance.

Answer _____________________________