Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Protecting children from the risk of harm?
View graph of relations

Protecting children from the risk of harm?: a critical review of the law's response(s) to online child sexual grooming in England and Wales

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter

Published

Standard

Protecting children from the risk of harm? a critical review of the law's response(s) to online child sexual grooming in England and Wales. / Mooney, Jamie-Lee.

Minding minors wandering the web: regulating online child safety. ed. / Simone van der Hof; Bibi van den Berg ; Bart Schermer. The Hague : T.M.C. Asser Press, 2014. p. 283-299 (Information Technology and Law; Vol. 24).

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter

Harvard

Mooney, J-L 2014, Protecting children from the risk of harm? a critical review of the law's response(s) to online child sexual grooming in England and Wales. in S van der Hof, B van den Berg & B Schermer (eds), Minding minors wandering the web: regulating online child safety. Information Technology and Law, vol. 24, T.M.C. Asser Press, The Hague, pp. 283-299. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-6265-005-3_16

APA

Mooney, J-L. (2014). Protecting children from the risk of harm? a critical review of the law's response(s) to online child sexual grooming in England and Wales. In S. van der Hof, B. van den Berg , & B. Schermer (Eds.), Minding minors wandering the web: regulating online child safety (pp. 283-299). (Information Technology and Law; Vol. 24). T.M.C. Asser Press. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-6265-005-3_16

Vancouver

Mooney J-L. Protecting children from the risk of harm? a critical review of the law's response(s) to online child sexual grooming in England and Wales. In van der Hof S, van den Berg B, Schermer B, editors, Minding minors wandering the web: regulating online child safety. The Hague: T.M.C. Asser Press. 2014. p. 283-299. (Information Technology and Law). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-6265-005-3_16

Author

Mooney, Jamie-Lee. / Protecting children from the risk of harm? a critical review of the law's response(s) to online child sexual grooming in England and Wales. Minding minors wandering the web: regulating online child safety. editor / Simone van der Hof ; Bibi van den Berg ; Bart Schermer. The Hague : T.M.C. Asser Press, 2014. pp. 283-299 (Information Technology and Law).

Bibtex

@inbook{e513fe93959f4e518c6a516cf04f4b68,
title = "Protecting children from the risk of harm?: a critical review of the law's response(s) to online child sexual grooming in England and Wales",
abstract = "The primary argument this chapter makes is that the existing law may inadvertently underplay or even increase the potential risk of harm from Online Child Sexual Grooming (OCSG), as the OCSG process is not criminalised by the so called {\textquoteleft}grooming offence{\textquoteright} under section 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (s.15 offence). The history of child sexual grooming is difficult to put into context because it has only recently been recognised, not only academically, but legally, as a distinct stage of the process of child sexual abuse. Online grooming has proved similarly difficult to define. This chapter explores the phenomenon of OCSG alongside current understandings of the grooming process to illustrate how OCSG allows a groomer to progress through the stages of grooming more quickly because, for example, personal information is readily available on social networking sites, and enables the groomer to target several children at once. The internet is a site of vulnerability not only because of the potential it offers to access children across national boundaries but also because of the relative anonymity it affords to the groomer. Groomers who target adolescents online are better able to conceal their identities than {\textquoteleft}face-to-face{\textquoteright} groomers, and can entice adolescents into {\textquoteleft}virtual relationships{\textquoteright}. The online groomer{\textquoteright}s development of trust and compliance may involve sexually explicit communications and the exchange of sexually explicit images of the child, a valuable tool to ensure further compliance and secrecy due to the threat of the material being publicly released. Having analysed the phenomenon of OCSG, the chapter then turns to its central focus: the way in which the law tackles OCSG and the limitations of the current s.15 offence. Despite the absence of a common definition of the phenomenon and ambiguity surrounding what constitutes grooming behaviour, it received significant attention by the legislature several years ago, leading to the announcement and enactment of the s.15 offence (which relates to meeting with a child following grooming). Notwithstanding the law{\textquoteright}s acknowledgment of the dangers the internet poses to children, online grooming behaviour and {\textquoteleft}meetings{\textquoteright} in the virtual world that occur as a part of OCSG are excluded from the s.15 offence, despite amendments made in 2008 that were directly aimed at providing a greater level of protection to children by intervening in the grooming process at an earlier stage. This chapter concludes that the vagueness of what counts as grooming behaviour in the legislation encourages misconceptions about the dangers and risks OCSG poses to children and the circumstances in which grooming and online meetings could occur. This could result in children being offered less effective protection from sexual abuse. ",
keywords = "Sexual Grooming, Online danger, Sexual Offences Act 2003, Third Party Grooming, Sexual Abuse, vulnerability, child protection",
author = "Jamie-Lee Mooney",
year = "2014",
doi = "10.1007/978-94-6265-005-3_16",
language = "English",
isbn = "9789462650046",
series = "Information Technology and Law",
publisher = "T.M.C. Asser Press",
pages = "283--299",
editor = "{van der Hof}, Simone and {van den Berg }, Bibi and Bart Schermer",
booktitle = "Minding minors wandering the web",

}

RIS

TY - CHAP

T1 - Protecting children from the risk of harm?

T2 - a critical review of the law's response(s) to online child sexual grooming in England and Wales

AU - Mooney, Jamie-Lee

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - The primary argument this chapter makes is that the existing law may inadvertently underplay or even increase the potential risk of harm from Online Child Sexual Grooming (OCSG), as the OCSG process is not criminalised by the so called ‘grooming offence’ under section 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (s.15 offence). The history of child sexual grooming is difficult to put into context because it has only recently been recognised, not only academically, but legally, as a distinct stage of the process of child sexual abuse. Online grooming has proved similarly difficult to define. This chapter explores the phenomenon of OCSG alongside current understandings of the grooming process to illustrate how OCSG allows a groomer to progress through the stages of grooming more quickly because, for example, personal information is readily available on social networking sites, and enables the groomer to target several children at once. The internet is a site of vulnerability not only because of the potential it offers to access children across national boundaries but also because of the relative anonymity it affords to the groomer. Groomers who target adolescents online are better able to conceal their identities than ‘face-to-face’ groomers, and can entice adolescents into ‘virtual relationships’. The online groomer’s development of trust and compliance may involve sexually explicit communications and the exchange of sexually explicit images of the child, a valuable tool to ensure further compliance and secrecy due to the threat of the material being publicly released. Having analysed the phenomenon of OCSG, the chapter then turns to its central focus: the way in which the law tackles OCSG and the limitations of the current s.15 offence. Despite the absence of a common definition of the phenomenon and ambiguity surrounding what constitutes grooming behaviour, it received significant attention by the legislature several years ago, leading to the announcement and enactment of the s.15 offence (which relates to meeting with a child following grooming). Notwithstanding the law’s acknowledgment of the dangers the internet poses to children, online grooming behaviour and ‘meetings’ in the virtual world that occur as a part of OCSG are excluded from the s.15 offence, despite amendments made in 2008 that were directly aimed at providing a greater level of protection to children by intervening in the grooming process at an earlier stage. This chapter concludes that the vagueness of what counts as grooming behaviour in the legislation encourages misconceptions about the dangers and risks OCSG poses to children and the circumstances in which grooming and online meetings could occur. This could result in children being offered less effective protection from sexual abuse.

AB - The primary argument this chapter makes is that the existing law may inadvertently underplay or even increase the potential risk of harm from Online Child Sexual Grooming (OCSG), as the OCSG process is not criminalised by the so called ‘grooming offence’ under section 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (s.15 offence). The history of child sexual grooming is difficult to put into context because it has only recently been recognised, not only academically, but legally, as a distinct stage of the process of child sexual abuse. Online grooming has proved similarly difficult to define. This chapter explores the phenomenon of OCSG alongside current understandings of the grooming process to illustrate how OCSG allows a groomer to progress through the stages of grooming more quickly because, for example, personal information is readily available on social networking sites, and enables the groomer to target several children at once. The internet is a site of vulnerability not only because of the potential it offers to access children across national boundaries but also because of the relative anonymity it affords to the groomer. Groomers who target adolescents online are better able to conceal their identities than ‘face-to-face’ groomers, and can entice adolescents into ‘virtual relationships’. The online groomer’s development of trust and compliance may involve sexually explicit communications and the exchange of sexually explicit images of the child, a valuable tool to ensure further compliance and secrecy due to the threat of the material being publicly released. Having analysed the phenomenon of OCSG, the chapter then turns to its central focus: the way in which the law tackles OCSG and the limitations of the current s.15 offence. Despite the absence of a common definition of the phenomenon and ambiguity surrounding what constitutes grooming behaviour, it received significant attention by the legislature several years ago, leading to the announcement and enactment of the s.15 offence (which relates to meeting with a child following grooming). Notwithstanding the law’s acknowledgment of the dangers the internet poses to children, online grooming behaviour and ‘meetings’ in the virtual world that occur as a part of OCSG are excluded from the s.15 offence, despite amendments made in 2008 that were directly aimed at providing a greater level of protection to children by intervening in the grooming process at an earlier stage. This chapter concludes that the vagueness of what counts as grooming behaviour in the legislation encourages misconceptions about the dangers and risks OCSG poses to children and the circumstances in which grooming and online meetings could occur. This could result in children being offered less effective protection from sexual abuse.

KW - Sexual Grooming

KW - Online danger

KW - Sexual Offences Act 2003

KW - Third Party Grooming

KW - Sexual Abuse

KW - vulnerability

KW - child protection

U2 - 10.1007/978-94-6265-005-3_16

DO - 10.1007/978-94-6265-005-3_16

M3 - Chapter

SN - 9789462650046

T3 - Information Technology and Law

SP - 283

EP - 299

BT - Minding minors wandering the web

A2 - van der Hof, Simone

A2 - van den Berg , Bibi

A2 - Schermer, Bart

PB - T.M.C. Asser Press

CY - The Hague

ER -