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What constitutes causing or inciting sexual activity with a child?

Sexual offences against children are covered by the Sexual Offences Act 2003. In order to prove there is a case of causing or inciting sexual activity with a child, the police, or further down the line, the prosecution must show:

  • That the activity was sexual
  • That they intentionally caused or incited another person to participate in the sexual activity
  • That the person is below the age of 16 and the offender did not reasonably believe they were over 16, or they are under the age of 13.

Charges can be brought many years later because there is no time limit on when complaints can be made. Such cases are generally referred to as ‘historic’.

Types of behaviour considered as causing or inciting sexual activity

Factors that will be considered during the case include abuse of trust (a teacher, for example), any planning of the sexual activity, grooming, or lying about your age to the child. The most common types of sexual offence are:

  • Touching breasts or genitalia: this includes any form of touching that is or could be construed as sexual
  • Sexual activity by penetration: penetration of the child’s anus or vagina
  • Any other sexual activity: encompasses training not covered above

Penalties for causing or inciting sexual activity with a child

The penalties likely to be imposed depend on the type of offence, including other factors such as the severity of the sexual activity, if force was used, whether the child was considered vulnerable, and the impact of the sexual activity upon them. Possible penalties include:

  • For causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity without consent, you could receive a sentence of up to life imprisonment if penetration took place, or up to 10 years in cases where no penetration was involved.
  • For causing or inciting a child to participate in sexual activity, you could receive a sentence of up to 14 years.
  • Causing or inciting a child under the age of 13 to participate in sexual activity, you could receive a sentence of life imprisonment (penetration) or 14 years (no penetration).

Are there any defences for causing or inciting sexual activity?

Available defences depend largely on the type of offence in question and the circumstances. For offences involving sexual activity without consent, a defence could include the argument that the alleged victim did consent or there was a ‘reasonable belief’ they had consented.

In relation to offences where the child was under the age of 16, defence arguments could surround a reasonable belief the alleged victim was over 16. For offences relating to children under the age of 13, believing that the alleged victim was over the age of 13 is not a defence.

Contact Our Sexual Offences Defence Lawyers (London, Birmingham, Manchester)

If you believe you have not caused or incited sexual activity and the allegations are untrue, it is  essential you obtain the expert guidance of one of our skilled and experienced lawyers. They may be able to help you get the charges dropped before it reaches court. For more information, visit see here or contact us today.

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  • Specialists in Criminal Defence Law
  • Outstanding record in successfully defending clients charged with Sexual Offences
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