Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 9th December 2014.

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Photo of Nigel Dodds Nigel Dodds Shadow Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), DUP Westminster Leader

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to prohibit an adult in England and Wales sending a message with sexual content to a child.

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

It is vital we protect innocent victims, which is why tough sentences are available to the courts for sexual offences against children. There are already robust laws in place to deal with sexual offences against children, and paedophiles should be left in no doubt that they will face serious consequences.

The Government has already brought forward amendments in the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill at Lords Committee stage to amend the “grooming” offence at Section 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. The amendment reduces the number of initial occasions on which the defendant must meet or communicate with the child in question from two to one.

As my Rt Hon friend the Home Secretary indicated during Home Office oral questions on 17 November (House of Commons, official report, column 17), we will complete our consideration of the case for such a new offence in good time to enable an amendment to be tabled to the Serious Crime Bill in the House of Commons should the Government decide to do so.

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