The law takes sexual offences committed against children very seriously. This is due to the fact that the law provides protection to children and places paramount importance on a child’s welfare and wellbeing. A sexual offence solicitor will explain that the repercussions for committing child sexual offences are very severe and will lead to imprisonment. Statistics have shown that in the last 5 years there has been an increase in crimes committed against children, and in particular sexual offences and sexual abuse. In 2020 there had been a 57% increase in the number of sexual offences committed against children and therefore charitable and governmental organisations are all working together to try and make the laws even stricter and the sentences even harsher against such perpetrators.
So what is child sexual abuse?
Often people do not truly understand what constitutes child sexual abuse or sexual offences against children. There does not necessarily have to be penetration but a perpetrator will still be guilty of committing a sexual offence. The definition of child sexual abuse is forcing or encouraging a child to take part in sexual activities irrespective of whether the child is or is not aware of what is happening. There does not need to be violence on the perpetrator’s part. A child is anyone under the age of 18.
Examples of activities that will come under the definition of child sexual abuse include physical contact such as rape or sexual assault and also kissing, touching and rubbing inside and outside of clothing. It also includes getting children to watch sexual activities being performed on others, taking sexual images, encouraging children to act in a sexually provocative way, and training children for prostitution, amongst other sexual activities. Child sexual abuse can be committed by men and women and also other children.
What sentences can be passed for child sexual abuse?
The law takes child sexual abuse very seriously. This can be seen from national statistics that show that those criminals found guilty of child sexual abuse are taken into immediate custody. This means that they are given a prison sentence by the court. In 2018 more than 50% of the perpetrators were given prison sentences and mainly for committing child rape offences.
The length of the term of imprisonment is dependent on the conduct of the defendant and also any previous convictions and character. Criminals can be given anything from between 4 years to 14 years. The length of time in prison spent by the criminal is also dependent on their behaviour in prison and their sentence can be cut short if they behave themselves. There is a lot of criticism as people think that the criminal justice system in the UK is too soft on criminals and needs to give stricter and tougher sentences. People are of the opinion that such criminals should not be allowed out of prison and if so, should not be able to join society again as if nothing has happened. People want to see changes to protect children and their rights and safety.