New Law Sees Ban on Sexual Communications with a Child

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Huw has this week welcomed the long-awaited, coming into force of a law, which makes sending sexual messages to children illegal.

The law was created in 2015 to make it illegal to send sexual messages to children, following the NSPCC’s Flaw in the Law campaign. The UK government failed to bring that law into force in England and Wales, leaving police hands tied and preventing them from arresting groomers until they meet the child or sexually abuse them.

Huw and colleagues subsequently called for the Welsh Government to take up the issue with the Justice Secretary, and a letter was sent asking the UK Government to bring the law into force to ensure children are protected.

As from 3rd April this year , online grooming finally becomes a crime meaning police will be able to arrest anyone who sends a sexual message to a child, and intervene before physical abuse takes place. Similar legislation is already in place in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Huw said: “I am pleased that online grooming at last becomes a crime in England and Wales.  It is long overdue and children in Wales will finally enjoy the same protection under the law as their peers in Scotland and Northern Ireland.”

NSPCC Cymru/Wales’ Head of Service Des Mannion said: “The Justice Secretary has done the right thing. This is a victory for the 50,000 people who supported the NSPCC’s Flaw in the Law campaign. It is a victory for common sense. Children should be as safe online as they are offline, wherever they are in the UK. This law will give police in England and Wales the powers they need to protect children from online grooming, and to intervene sooner to stop abuse before it starts.”