Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2005

The Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2005 (asp 9) is an Act of the Scottish Parliament. The Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences bill was announced to the parliament by the First Minister of Scotland, Jack McConnell, in September 2004.[1] It was passed on 2 June 2005, receiving Royal Assent on 12 July.[2] The act introduced new offences related to child grooming,[3] which had been addressed in England and Wales under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Background and legislationEdit

Following the Sexual Offences Act 2003 which introduced new legislation into England and Wales, there were calls by politicians and the police for similar laws to come into force in Scotland.[4] There were concerns that the existing legislation made it difficult to prosecute people for child grooming before any sexual abuse had taken place.[4] Some people suspected of grooming children over the internet for sex abuse had been charged with breach of the peace or lewd and libidinous practises.[4] The Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences Act is one of several pieces of legislation introduced worldwide in the 2000s to introduce offences specifically related to child grooming. Other countries adopting similar laws included Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.[5]

The first part of the act makes it an offence to "meet a child following certain preliminary contact".[2] It is an offense if a person ("A") has met or communicated with the child ("B") previously, "intends to engage in unlawful sexual activity involving B or in the presence of B", the child is under 16 years of age, and person A "does not reasonably believe that B is 16 or over".[6]

The act allows the police to apply for a risk of sexual harm order (RSHO) for a person who has committed certain acts (at least two) related to child sex abuse, and is believed to be at risk to a particular child or children in general. The relevant acts referred to are "engaging in sexual activity involving a child or in the presence of a child", "causing or inciting a child to watch a person engaging in sexual activity or to look at a moving or still image that is sexual", "giving a child anything that relates to sexual activity or contains a reference to such activity" and "communicating with a child, where any part of the communication is sexual".[7]

ImpactEdit

In 2009, Green Party MSP Robin Harper raised concerns that only four people had been prosecuted under the act.[8] He said that the act "clearly isn't working".[9] The government responded that the act only covers particular offences and that in that year, under various legislation, 234 people in Scotland had been convicted of child sex offences.[9]

A related act, the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 was passed by the parliament in 2009.[10]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

Notes
  1. ^ "McConnell Details Political Goals", BBC News, BBC, 7 September 2004, retrieved 28 November 2010
  2. ^ a b "Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2005 (asp 9) Introductory Text", UK Statute Law Database, retrieved 28 November 2010
  3. ^ "Man Jailed Under New Grooming Law", BBC News, BBC, 21 September 2006, retrieved 28 November 2010
  4. ^ a b c Gardner, Claire (23 May 2004), "Law Lets Paedophiles Slip Through Net", Scotland on Sunday, The Scotsman Publications, retrieved 20 November 2010
  5. ^ Davidson, p. 12
  6. ^ "Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2005 (asp 9): Meeting a child following certain preliminary contact", UK Statute Law Database, retrieved 28 November 2010
  7. ^ "Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2005 (asp 9): Risk of sexual harm orders", UK Statute Law Database, retrieved 28 November 2010
  8. ^ "Only Four People in Three Years Prosecuted Under 'Child Grooming' Law", The Scotsman, Johnston Press, 4 December 2009, retrieved 20 November 2010
  9. ^ a b "Greens: Anti-Grooming Laws Failing to Protect Children", The Herald, Newsquest, 4 December 2009, retrieved 20 November 2010
  10. ^ "MSPs Pass Major Sex crime Reforms", BBC News, BBC, 10 June 2009, retrieved 28 November 2010
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