Saturday, May 25, 2024

NSPCC fix a flaw in the law to stop groomers in Thurrock


THE number of abusers meeting children after grooming them has more than tripled in five years – yet police still can’t arrest people for grooming in England and Wales.

The NSPCC is calling on Government to fix a Flaw in the Law and bring in anti-grooming legislation that was created two years ago today [FRI] – but is not yet in force.

This means that adults cannot be arrested or prosecuted for sending sexual messages to children.

Alarmingly police recorded 1,122 offences of Meeting a Child Following Sexual Grooming in the year to September 2016. This was up from 345 in 2010-11, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

But despite this sharp increase in abusers meeting up with young people they have groomed, the Government has not yet brought in a law that would allow police to intervene much sooner.

Section 67 of the Serious Crime Act would make it illegal for an adult to send a sexual communication to a child. All that is needed to bring it into action is for Justice Secretary Liz Truss to sign a piece of paper and send it to Parliament, and yet two years on this inexplicably has not been done.

One 15-year-old child contacted the NSPCC after she received sexual messages from a friend of her father from a youth group she attended.

Molly*, not her real name, said: ‘Gavin* added me as a friend on Facebook and I didn’t think anything of it as he was friends with my brother and my dad too and we often saw his family. He got my telephone number off Facebook and started texting me too.’

Gavin started telling Molly she was pretty and that he couldn’t stop thinking about her.

She added: ‘His messages started to get more sexual too and he would tell me he was talking to me from his bed. One morning he told me that he was masturbating while thinking about me. It was gross as he knew how young I was.

‘I think a change in the law would help a lot of young people who are receiving sexual messages from adults.’

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: ‘It is an utter disgrace that more and more sexual predators are meeting children after grooming them – but they cannot be arrested for grooming.

‘Police are having to rely on other offences which means that they can’t intervene until a later stage in the abuse – which in some tragic cases is too late.
‘The Government’s two-year delay in bringing this law into force is shameful, and unexplained. We urge the Government to stop dragging its feet and enact this law immediately to stop sex abuse before it starts.’


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