Those being investigated and prosecuted for child grooming will fear the wrath of the media and always be concerned about their safety and the safety of their loved ones. While the rule of law and the Human Rights Act follow the principle of everyone being ‘innocent until proven guilty’, those accused of child grooming offences will inevitably feel they are being assumed to be guilty until they prove their innocence.
Child grooming occurs when an adult, communicates with a child under 16 years and then meets or travels with the intention to meet the child to engage in sexual activity. The communication needn’t be sexual in nature and the courts will consider all the factors of the case including the length of communication, the use of pseudo names, the age difference between the parties, the level of planning and sophistication, the number of people involved, the use of drugs or alcohol and the impact of any physical or mental injury to the child.
Lack of sleep, constant anxiety, sweeping depression and uncontrollable mood swings are but some of the physical symptoms you may suffer while battling against the charges. The impact on your well-being, your loved ones and any business you may be operating is immeasurable.
Although most people are fortunate enough not to be involved in a sexual offence case, those that are can find it very distressing. Being charged with sexual offences, especially with those who are underage and still considered to be a child, can be extremely concerning with fears going deeper than worries about what might happen in court.
It’s a time when it’s hard to sleep well, there will be anxiety about what people will think of you, and you will feel desperate to clear your name to protect your reputation.
If you’re a professional, you’ll be very frightened about what allegations of this nature can do to your career and quality of life. Understandably, you’ll be feeling under pressure and having sleepless nights.
To help you to get through this challenging time, we’ve put together a few of the questions that clients typically ask when they are involved in a child grooming investigation. We aim to support you emotionally and practically at a time when you feel vulnerable and worried that your life could be transformed.
If you have any questions that we haven’t answered here, please contact us to find out more information about what to expect in an investigation or case of this nature.
Have you been accused of Child Grooming?
If you or somebody close to you has been charged or arrested in connection to a child grooming case, you will be feeling very confused, worried, stressed and concerned about what’s going to happen.
For the prosecution to prove child grooming has occurred, they must show:
communication with the child has been with the purpose of building trust for sexual gratification
the child is under 16
communication has occurred with the intention of sexual grooming, through social media, mobile phone, letters or email
It is not for you to prove your innocence but for the prosecution to prove your guilt.
There may be a chance that the outcome of the trial will be for you to be imprisoned and placed on the sex offenders register. Being on this register means that you need to notify the police of specific details, either for a time or for life.
Being on the register or being imprisoned could affect the well-being of your family. If you can’t make an income, they may find it difficult to access the required finances to pay the rent or mortgage, pay bills and buy the food they need.
What type of actions are considered child grooming?
The actions that take place to create an offence of child grooming may include:
Spending time in chatrooms to find children for child grooming – for example, using an alter ego or anonymity to make contact with children. This may also happen on a social media platform.
Being caught in the act by an undercover police officer – for instance, the undercover police officer will pretend to be a child and contact may include sexual exchanges or even details about the arrangement of a meeting.
If you are being investigated for any of these offences, it’s critical that you take professional legal advice as quickly as possible.
What happens in a child grooming investigation?
When there is an investigation in child grooming, you’ll wonder how it will affect your primary relationship, that with your children and other family members. What will the effect be on your career or business? You may worry that you’ll be imprisoned and your world will feels upside down.
The investigation may have been initiated by a complaint from a teacher, the police, parents or a social worker. There may be a red flag from a website that highlights the dealings of an individual who is grooming either online or in real life.
You may have been falsely accused of child grooming
If you know that you did not take part in child grooming activities and the allegations against you are untrue, it’s vital that you take the guidance of a lawyer. A competent and knowledgeable solicitor may be able to help you to get the case dismissed before it reaches the court stage.
It’s critical that you hire somebody who has in-depth knowledge of and experience in defending child grooming offences.
Without a solicitor, you cannot find out more until the interview
If you’ve been asked to attend a police interview, you will discover that you cannot find out much about what you’re being accused of before the meeting. A solicitor will be able to ask to see the evidence against you, or at the least discover if the police have evidence on you that they have not fully disclosed yet.
Child grooming legal expertise is developed with practice and access to large volumes of work.
What should you do if you get arrested or charged with child grooming?
We will work with you to understand your account of events and then decide how best to present your side of the story. In doing this, we will analyse the prosecution’s case in detail; we will contest the admissibility of evidence and fight rigorously to ensure all disclosure has been provided, especially materially which may assist the defence case.
We will explore and collect any indirect and circumstantial evidence which supports your case and falls in line with the defence strategy. If we can gather material which proves the complainant to be a prolific liar, for example, these are the sorts of investigations we will make.
We will engage brilliant and specialist sexual offences barristers who will stand with us side by side throughout your case. If there is any reason to explore mobile phone evidence or computer evidence, we will engage specialists who do just that and then invite them to present their findings to the court.
Can the police search my home?
The police can search your home as they will be seeking evidence. The authorities will have granted access to your property, and the police will carry through the search. They are likely to seize your devices and look through your belongings for evidence that can be used against you in court.
Could you go to prison for Child Grooming?
Child grooming is a serious offence and most times you will receive a prison sentence. However, it’s not the case every time. In some situations, you may even be able to get your case resolved outside of the court system, depending how serious it is and the quality of your lawyer. You may also have your name added to the sex offender’s register.
We handle sexual offence cases regularly and have deep knowledge of this arena.
What type of sentence could you get for child grooming?
Depending on the offence for which you are charged, you may receive maximum imprisonment of ten years. However, such a sentence is reserved for the most serious of offences and usually, there is a huge amount of work a sexual offences solicitor can do to reduce the term of imprisonment likely to be imposed. Read more information about sentencing for Child Grooming
What mitigating factors may be considered in sentencing?
Your lack of previous convictions, the time that has passed since the offence, your age at the time of the offence, your position of responsibility and contribution to society or charities for example; are all factors which may be considered by a judge when thinking of the appropriate sentence.
Your sexual offences solicitor will dissect your life history to extract any information which may be used to secure the best possible sentence.
Does a conviction for Child Grooming go on your criminal record?
If your child grooming case is heard in court and you are convicted of the crime, your conviction will be recorded on your CRB / police record.
The period of the endorsement will depend on the nature and length of the sentence imposed on you.
In addition, your name will be added to the ‘sex offenders register’ and you will be subjected to ‘notification requirements’.
How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?
Child grooming offences of this nature are prosecuted by specialist teams with considerable resources. Every detail will have been thoroughly analysed and preserved to be used as evidence against you. It is therefore of greater importance to be defended by those who not only possess the expertise and the knowledge but also have the tenacity to protect you.
Our sexual offences solicitors have successfully defended high-profile child grooming cases. We understand the defences available to you and are able to work with you and your circumstances to extract and present the information needed for success. We will methodically analyse the prosecution case, contest the admissibility of illegally obtained evidence, draw out crucial evidence which the prosecutors may not be disclosing, and we will challenge the credibility of those witnesses you tell us are lying.
We will work with renowned and award-winning barristers who will stand with us side by side throughout your case. We have excellent relationships with forensic experts and digital communication analysts who can be called upon to give evidence in your favour. We appreciate that the smallest detail in the prosecution’s evidence or in your defence material could make the difference to the result of the case. We are committed to making an early start, to exploring all avenues, to securing all potential evidence and offering you the best solutions.
What will happen when I instruct a child grooming solicitor?
If you have been accused of child grooming offences then it is of utmost importance that you contact us immediately. The faster you get your legal team engaged, the better your chances of success. Our team are here to listen to your side of the case, to talk you through the process, and to put together a defence that will be in your best interests.
At Stuart Miller Solicitors, we are incredibly proud of the long-established reputation we have in the child grooming field. We provide highly trusted legal advice but also ensure that every member of our legal team is approachable and open-minded.
We will act proactively and not wait to be reactive against the prosecution building its case. We are modern, energetic and committed lawyers with an unmatched eagerness to win. To achieve the best possible outcome, we believe that early action by you is pivotal. If you are interviewed by the police without an expert sexual offences solicitor, you may say something on the police interview tape which will damage the entire case. You must, therefore, engage our services from the very outset so we can set about protecting your best interests.
In investigations or prosecutions of this nature, there is typically much complexity, and you will typically feel intimidated as you are prosecuted. For us to be able to help you, we will need to work together, and you can have a free consultation so that we can discuss your case and what happened.
Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?
If you’d like to have a no obligation chat with us before you instruct us to take your case, then contact us today.
In addition to giving you a free consultation, we can also represent you at the police station if you’ve been arrested. We can look at securing your legal aid.
Please contact us for a face to face meeting or a telephone call. There is a WhatsApp link on this page if that is your preference.
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