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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: May 2010

2 - Criminalizing child pornography and behaviour related to sexual grooming

Summary

Despite the number of existing offences that can apply to behaviour related to child pornography or sexual grooming, it is only relatively recently that the law has specifically targeted these phenomena. In 1978, the first piece of legislation directed at individuals involved in the creation and distribution of indecent images of children was introduced, namely the Protection of Children Act (PCA). The specific criminalization of behaviour relating to grooming has occurred even more recently, under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (SOA).

Initially in this chapter, I analyse the legal response to child pornography. The relevant statutory provisions to be found in the PCA, the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (CJA) and the SOA and case law surrounding child pornography are elucidated and analysed in section one. Then, in section two, I examine and assess the scope of the offence of meeting a child following sexual grooming to be found in the SOA. Finally, in the third section, I explore what lies beneath the surface of the law's response to child pornography and grooming. Here, I identify a number of societal and legal concerns that have been the driving force behind the creation of the current statutory provisions aimed at child pornography and grooming and the way in which the harms of both phenomena have been legally constructed.