Adam Johnson case highlights Flaw in the Law

An adult can't always be charged for sending sexual messages to a child

PhoneWe're calling on the Government to urgently bring into force a law that means it's illegal for an adult to send a child sexual messages.

Former England footballer Adam Johnson's second appeal against his conviction and sentence for sexual activity with a child is heard at the Court of Appeal this week.

Johnson was convicted of meeting a 15-year-old girl after grooming her. But the grooming itself was not a crime at the time.

Our campaign Flaw in the Law saw more than 50,000 people sign our petition to fix the loophole in the law, but there's been a 2 year delay in giving police powers to catch adults sending sexual messages to children.


NSPCC spokesperson said:
"Prior to meeting with a 15-year-old girl, Johnson exchanged more than 800 messages with her. These messages said he wanted ‘more than a kiss’ and to take her jeans off.

“These kinds of messages would be an offence if they were sent in Scotland, but in England and Wales police are powerless to intervene because anti-grooming laws created 2 years ago have yet to be brought into force.

“The Government’s delay in stopping this kind of grooming is a disgrace. Justice Secretary Liz Truss must act with urgency to fix this flaw in the law and stop abuse before it starts."

Help us end the Flaw in the Law

This week marks the 2 year annniversary of Parliament passing an anti-grooming law to make it illegal to send a sexual message to a child, but this law still has not been given a start date.

Until they do this, the police can't charge people with the offence in England and Wales.

Help us give a voice to children and demand change by campaigning with us.

Join our network and fight for every childhood

It's only with your support that we can keep children safe. That's why we'd love to keep you posted with news about our campaigns, how your support can make a difference and the variety of exciting ways you can support us in the future.

 
 
 
 
 
 

We would also like to contact you by post, if you would prefer not to hear from us this way please tick here

You can always change the way that we get in touch with you in the future by contacting our Supporter Care team on 020 7825 2505 or supportercare@nspcc.org.uk.

We will never pass on your details to any other organisations to use for their own purposes – find more information about how we use and look after your data on our privacy policy.


NSPCC press office

Contact our national and regional press offices for enquiries about our work or to request interviews.

Contact our press office

Find out more

Flaw in the Law fixed

Thanks to you, police can now protect thousands of children across the UK from online grooming.
Join our campaign

Campaign with us

Give a voice to children when no one is listening. Help us demand that all children are worth fighting for.
Sign up today

Make a donation today

1 in 20 children experience sexual abuse. But many are too scared to speak out. Donate now and help us be there when they break their silence.

Donate now