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The UK Government has been advised that they should impose stricter travel restrictions on UK citizens who have been convicted of sex offences. The recent Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) has resulted in a 73-page document to address international child sex abuse. The report showed that between 2013-2017, 361 UK nationals sought consular advice after being arrested for child sex offences overseas. Crucially, the report identified gaps in the UK legal system that it called on the government to address, notably more significant use of foreign travel restriction in sexual offences cases. The report says:

“The number of orders restricting the foreign travel of sex offenders made under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 appears low every year,”

“Of the 5,550 sexual harm prevention orders imposed in England and Wales in 2017-18, foreign travel restrictions were imposed in just 11 cases … There is ample scope for greater use of foreign travel restriction orders.”

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has estimated that around 80,000 people could be deemed to pose a risk of engaging in child sex offences online, in the UK and abroad.

Can I be prosecuted in the UK for child sex offences overseas?

It is possible to be prosecuted in the UK if you have committed child sex offences overseas. Section 72 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 enables the Crown to prosecute those accused of child sex offences abroad. However, at present, this power is rarely used. Between 1997-2018, there were only seven prosecutions carried out in England and Wales under section 72. This equates to one prosecution every three years.

Under what circumstances will the Crown prosecute overseas child sex offences?

The guidance around section 72 states that prosecutions should only be carried out in the UK as a last resort. However, the IICSA report has called for a change to this policy. It says:

“Section 72 prosecutions should be initiated in appropriate cases, particularly where the quality of local justice [overseas] may be suspect.”

If you are concerned that you may be investigated or charged with child sex offences allegedly committed in the UK or overseas, you need immediate advice and assistance. Contact our expert solicitors today.

Contact Our Child Sex Offence Defence Lawyers in London, Birmingham, Manchester & Leeds

Our extensive defence preparation, attention to detail and professional representation makes us the first choice for criminal defence in relation to child sex offence cases. Our team is led by Stuart Sutton, who has been in practice since 1987 and extensive experience in defending clients accused of sexual offences. We discuss all the available options available to you to find and implement the best course of action. We can help defend your reputation and your liberty.

If you believe that you have been wrongly accused, convicted or sentenced, or if one of your friends or family has been so convicted, concerning a sexual offence case, please contact Stuart on 07798 753 720 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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  • Specialists in Criminal Defence Law
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  • Secured not guilty verdicts in over 90% of cases
  • Robust defence preparation, attention to detail and professional representation