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Sexual communication with a child became an offence on 3rd April 2017. This offence does not apply retrospectively and therefore only captures behaviour falling foul of the law from 3rd April 2017 onwards.

It is now illegal for someone over the age of 18 to intentionally communicate with a child they do not believe to be over 16; if:

the communication is sexual in nature;

or it encourages the child to make a sexual communication; and

the communication was for the purpose of sexual gratification.

This offence does not only apply to communication over the internet or telephone. It spans all modes of communication, including handwritten and oral. If the allegation relates to communication using a device such as a PC, mobile phone or tablet it is extremely likely your devices will be seized by the police and all of the content downloaded. Our sexual offences solicitors have a vast database of trusted, and supportive expert witnesses who can be called in to support your case and give testimony in court.

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 far deeper than what might happen in court.

It’s a time when it’s hard to sleep well, there will be anxiety about what people might 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 could do to your career and quality of life. Understandably, you’ll be feeling under immense pressure.

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 sexual communications with a child 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 a Sexual Communication with a Child offence?

If you, or somebody close to you, has been arrested or charged in connection with a sexual communication with a child case, you will be feeling stressed, confused and worried about what’s going to happen.

For the prosecution to prove sexual communication with a child, they must show:

communication with the child has been for the purpose of sexual gratification

the child is under 16

the communication was sexual in nature, or the purpose was to encourage the child to respond with a communication that was sexual in nature.

It is not for you to prove your innocence but for the prosecution to prove your guilt.

It’s important to note that this offence, brought into force on 3rd April 2017, cannot be used in a retrospective manner to offences that occurred prior to this date.

There may be a chance that the outcome of the trial will be for you to be imprisoned and placed on the sex offender’s register. This could affect the well-being of your family. If you aren’t able to make an income, they may find it difficult to access the required finances to pay the rent or mortgage, pay bills or buy the food they need.

What type of actions are considered sexual communication with a child?

The actions that take place to create an offence of sexual communication with a child may include:

Sexual communication on a device – this is when a mobile phone, tablet or email is used to communicate with a child sexually. It involves using an SMS text message or chatting with a child in a chat room.

Handwriting – this offence does not have to take place digitally using any of the above methods but can include writing by hand to the child in a sexual nature.

Any other sexual activity

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 sexual communication with a child investigation?

When there is an investigation in sexual communication with a child, it can be a very worrying time. You’ll wonder how it might 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 that you won’t have enough funds to cover bills, food and anything else that your family needs.

You may have been falsely accused of sexual communication with a child

If you know that you did not take part in sexual communication with a child offence and the allegations against you are untrue, it’s vital that you take the guidance of a lawyer.  A competent and knowledgeable lawyer may be able to help you to get the case dismissed before it reaches the court stage.

It’s vital to hire somebody who has in-depth knowledge of, and experience in, the offence of sexual communication with a child.

Without a lawyer, 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 lawyer 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.

Instruct a legal professional as soon as possible

If you have been accused of sexual communication with a child, it is important that you seek help immediately. The faster your legal team is 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.

What should you do if you get arrested or charged with sexual communication with a child?

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 so, 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 specialist sexual offences barristers who stand with us side by side throughout your case. If there is any reason to explore mobile phone evidence or computer evidence, we will also engage technical forensic specialists and 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.

Could you go to prison for Sexual Communication with a Child?

Sexual communication with a child 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 on how serious it is and the quality of your lawyer. You may also have your name added to the sex offenders register.

We handle sexual offence cases daily and have in-depth knowledge in this arena.

What type of sentence could you get for sexual communication with a child?

Depending on the offence, you may receive imprisonment of up to two years. The exact sentence will depend on the full nature and circumstances of the case and the aggravating and mitigating features of the case.

Read more about sentencing for Sexual Communication with a Child.

What mitigating factors may be considered in sentencing?

When sentencing for sexual communication with a child, your case will be looked at closely for how much harm you have caused the victim, mentally and physically.

Your personal circumstances, life history, job and financial responsibilities will all be considered in detail before the judge decides on your sentence.

Does a conviction for Sexual Communication with a child go on your criminal record?

If your sexual communication with a child 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?

If you have been accused of sexual communication with a child offences, you can be confident of receiving accurate, intelligent and creative advice from our sexual offences solicitors. We have defended sexual offences for more than 35 years, and we keep abreast of legal developments to maintain our skills in challenging prosecutions and defending our clients.

We understand that being accused of any sexual offence, especially involving children, will be an extremely distressing and painful matter. This can be exasperated if you are not familiar with the criminal justice system, what will happen next, what you are required to do and when; and whether you are doing anything to harm yourself or being too naive in believing the police

Due to the nature of the offence, it is likely you will be asked questions by the police that you feel are an intrusion into your private life. We understand you may feel embarrassed broaching the subject, which is why our sexual offences team are specially trained to make you feel at ease. We pride ourselves on our discreet and sensitive approach which will be tailored specifically to you.

Our sexual offences solicitors have defended sexual offences daily for more than 30 years. We are unparalleled experts in this field, requiring careful and skilful lawyering.

Lack of sleep, constant stress, shaking anxiety and worries for your future and your family will destabilise your decision-making capabilities. You must, therefore, engage sexual offences solicitors to not only guide you through the process but also make you feel better about the case in general.

What will happen when I instruct a sexual offences lawyer?

At Stuart Miller Solicitors, we are incredibly proud of the long-established reputation we have in the sexual offences 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 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 could 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 feel intimidated if 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 call 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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