Adults grooming children: still not illegal

Offences for meeting a child after grooming have more than tripled, but grooming is still not a crime

children bus stopThe number of adults meeting children after grooming them has more than tripled in 5 years, but police still can't arrest people for grooming in England or Wales. 

Police recorded 1,122 offences of 'Meeting a Child Following Sexual Grooming' in the year to September 2016 - up from 345 for the year ending September 2011, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

We're calling on Government to fix a Flaw in the Law and enforce anti-grooming legislation that was created 2 years ago today - but is not yet in force. 

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

Justice Secretary Liz Truss must act

sign liz trussUnless the Government brings this law into force, police can't intervene when an adult sends a sexual message to a child.

Section 67 of the Serious Crime Act makes this illegal.

It's been 2 years since Parliament passed this legislation, and offences are rising.

All that's needed to bring Section 67 into action is for Justice Secretary Liz Truss to sign a piece of paper and send it to Parliament.

Molly's story of grooming

LaptopOne 15-year-old child contacted the NSPCC after she received sexual messages from a man she met through a youth group she was attended.

Molly* 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.

"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."

Peter Wanless, NSPCC Chief Executive, 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."


Names have been changed to protect identities. Any photographs are posed by models.