Anti-grooming law delay "unacceptable"

Government dragging its feet on making it illegal for an adult to send a sexual message to a child in England and Wales

Girl with phone

More than 50,000 people joined our Flaw in the Law campaign calling on the Government to make it illegal for an adult to send a sexual message to a child.

Last year Parliament introduced the new offence in England and Wales which meant an adult would be breaking the law if they sent a sexual communication to an under 16-year-old.

But now - nearly 2 years later - the Government has yet to trigger the law already successfully used to catch abusers in Scotland.

Every day we wait is another day children are at risk

Authorities have recorded 1,537 offences in Scotland under similar legislation in the last 6 years. And since February last year legislation has been in place for Northern Ireland.

Childline figures also show the number of counselling sessions for children worried about online sexual abuse rose last year (2015-16) by 24% to 3,716. That's why we need to pressure Government to act now.

NSPCC Chief Executive Peter Wanless' letter to the Secretary of State for Justice Elizabeth Truss 

"In too many cases the police have been left powerless to take action to protect children who are increasingly being targeted by abusers online.

"This new offence was supposed to mean that the full force of the law could be brought to bear on anyone who grooms children online.

"The public have backed our campaign, Parliament has agreed to it and Scotland shows that the law clearly works, so we cannot understand why the Government is dragging its feet.

"It is an unacceptable and baffling delay in equipping police in England and Wales in the battle against criminals who are intent on targeting children."