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Sexual Communication with a Child

At Tyler Hoffman, we understand the impact that an allegation of sexual communication with a child can have on your life. Accusations of such offences can carry severe legal consequences, but our dedicated team of experienced solicitors is able to provide expert legal advice and a robust defence for those accused of these serious charges.

Whether you are facing charges of attempted sexual communication with a child, inappropriate communication, or any related offence, we are here to support you through every step of the legal process. We handle each case with the utmost sensitivity, and ensure that all the circumstances are considered to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome.

Our commitment to your defence begins the moment you contact us, and continues throughout court proceedings and beyond. With Tyler Hoffman, you can trust that you are receiving knowledgeable, compassionate and discreet representation.

Available 24/7 to Provide the Support You Require

Call us on 03300 536786

Why Choose Us?

When facing allegations of sexual communication with a child, selecting the right legal representation is of the utmost importance. Here is why Tyler Hoffman is the best choice to defend you:

  • Expert legal advice: our solicitors possess extensive experience in handling cases of sexual communication and related offences. We understand the complexities of these charges and can provide a strategic and informed defence.
  • Strong defence: we are committed to putting forward a robust defence, analysing all relevant factors and evidence to protect your rights and achieving the best possible outcome.
  • Compassionate support: we recognise the significant psychological harm and stress these allegations can cause. Our team offers empathetic support and considers your personal circumstances throughout the process.
  • Confidential service: your privacy is paramount. We handle all matters with the utmost confidentiality, and manage your case discreetly and professionally.

Choosing Tyler Hoffman means opting for a firm that combines expertise, compassion and a strong commitment to your defence. We will do everything in our power to make a significant difference in your case, and work tirelessly to deliver the best outcome in court proceedings and beyond.

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How Our Solicitors Can Help You

At Tyler Hoffman, our solicitors are dedicated to providing exceptional legal defence for those accused of sexual communication with a child. Here’s how we can assist you:

  • Initial consultation: we offer a FREE and confidential initial consultation to learn about your case and provide clear, honest legal advice tailored to your situation.
  • Evaluating the evidence: we conduct a thorough review of your case by examining all of the relevant communications and digital evidence.
  • Tailored defence strategy: our team develops a personalised defence strategy by taking into account your individual circumstances, potential defences and mitigating factors.
  • Legal representation: from initial police station interviews to court proceedings, we provide strong representation at every stage. Our solicitors are skilled in negotiating with the Crown Prosecution Service and presenting a compelling case in court.

By choosing Tyler Hoffman, you benefit from a dedicated and experienced legal team committed to achieving the best outcome for your case.

What Cases of Sexual Communication with a Child Can We Help With?

At Tyler Hoffman, we offer comprehensive legal defence for a variety of cases involving sexual communication with a child, including but not limited to:

  • Sexual communication with a child: we defend clients accused of engaging in sexual communication with minors, and ensure all aspects of the case are meticulously examined.
  • Attempted sexual communication: our team is experienced in handling cases where an adult is accused of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.
  • Online grooming: we represent individuals facing allegations of online grooming, and provide robust defence strategies for those accused of initiating inappropriate communication with young people via social media platforms.
  • Cases involving undercover officers: we are skilled in defending cases where the alleged communication was with an undercover police officer and ensuring that your rights are protected.
  • Vigilante group accusations: we provide legal support for individuals who have been targeted by vigilante groups, and focus on obtaining the best possible outcome in such complex situations.

Our experienced solicitors are equipped to handle all types of sexual communication offences by offering expert legal advice and compassionate support tailored to your individual circumstances.

FAQs About Sexual Communication With a Child

What is classified as sexual communication with a child?

Sexual communication with a child is a criminal offence in the UK. It involves an adult intentionally communicating with someone under the age of 16 in a sexual way. This includes any form of communication, whether online or in person, that is intended to elicit a sexual response or involves discussing sexual content. The law is designed to protect children from sexual harm and exploitation, and it encompasses a broad range of interactions, including text messages, emails, social media interactions, and other forms of digital communication.

The offence of sexual communication with a child was introduced in April 2017 under Section 67 of the Serious Crime Act 2015, which added Section 15A to the Sexual Offences Act 2003. The law criminalises acts in which all of the following conditions are met:

  • An adult (aged 18 or over) intentionally communicates with a child under 16.
  • The adult does not reasonably believe the child to be 16 or older.
  • The communication is sexual in nature, including explicit messages, sexual images, or any content that a reasonable person would consider inappropriate for a child.

The communication is deemed sexual if any part relates to sexual activity, or a reasonable person would consider any part of it to be sexual. This includes sexual chats, emails, or conversations in chat rooms where the child's age is clear. The offence is committed regardless of whether the child responds to the communication. If exposed or reported, these exchanges are likely to result in criminal charges.

Being accused of this offence can lead to severe legal consequences, including imprisonment, mandatory registration as a sex offender, and other penalties. Understanding these legal aspects is crucial for mounting a strong defence and mitigating the potential impact on your life.

What are the potential sentences for this allegation?

The sentences for sexual communication with a child can vary based on the specifics of the case and the severity of the offence. Courts consider various factors, including the nature of the communication, the age of the child, and any previous convictions.

The potential outcomes include:

  • Custodial Sentence: For serious offences, a prison sentence is a common outcome. Different charges are associated with different sentences, which reflect the gravity of each crime.
  • Suspended Sentence: In some cases, the court may impose a suspended sentence, and allow the accused to avoid prison if they meet certain conditions.
  • Community Order: Less severe cases may result in community orders requiring the individual to complete community service or attend rehabilitation programmes.
  • Sex Offenders Register: Conviction typically leads to mandatory registration on the sex offenders register, which has significant implications for the individual’s future.
  • Other Penalties: Additional penalties can include fines, restraining orders, and notification requirements.

Understanding these potential sentences is crucial for preparing a defence and working towards the best possible outcome. Our solicitors at Tyler Hoffman are experienced in handling such cases and can provide the expert legal advice you need.

What are the potential sentences for this allegation?

The sentencing for sexual communication with a child depends on various factors, including the severity of the offence, any aggravating or mitigating circumstances, and whether the offence falls under Category 1 or Category 2, as defined by the Sentencing Council.

Category 1 offences involve the most serious cases of sexual communication with a child. These typically include:

  • Cases where sexual images or digital media have been sent or received
  • Communication that has resulted in significant psychological harm to the child
  • Situations involving multiple victims or previous convictions

For Category 1 offences, the court may impose an immediate custodial sentence, to reflect the severity and impact of the offence. The duration of imprisonment can vary, but it often includes several years in prison, mandatory registration on the Sex Offenders Register, and other legal restrictions.

Category 2 offences lack the aggravating factors associated with Category 1 offences, and might involve:

  • Communication that did not result in significant psychological harm.
  • Situations where the offender has no previous convictions, and there are mitigating factors such as mental health issues or a learning disability.
  • Incidents where the communication was less explicit or was not premeditated.

For Category 2 offences, the court may consider alternatives to immediate imprisonment, such as a suspended sentence, community orders or other non-custodial penalties. However, offenders will still face registration on the Sex Offenders Register and other legal consequences.

Additionally, the court will examine various other factors when determining the appropriate sentence, including:

  • The nature and explicitness of the communication
  • The age and vulnerability of the child
  • The offender’s intent and any evidence of grooming or planning
  • Aggravating factors such as repeat offending or previous warnings
  • Mitigating factors such as mental health issues, learning disabilities or the offender's personal circumstances

What are the potential defences for this allegation?

Defending against allegations of sexual communication with a child requires a thorough understanding of the law and the ability to present a strong case. Several potential defences may be available, depending on the specific circumstances of your case:

  • Reasonable belief of age: one key defence is demonstrating that the accused reasonably believed the person they were communicating with was over the age of 16, based on concrete evidence. The accused must prove that they took all reasonable precautions to determine the child's age before engaging in sexual communications.
  • Lack of intent: another potential defence is the lack of intent to engage in sexual communication. The accused must demonstrate that the communication was not intended to elicit a sexual response or gratify sexual desires. This defence can be supported by the context and content of the communication.
  • Insufficient evidence: in some cases, the prosecution may lack sufficient evidence to prove that the communication was sexual in nature or intended to obtain sexual gratification. Challenging the evidence's validity, reliability and context can be a strong defence strategy.

At Tyler Hoffman, our experienced solicitors are dedicated to providing a strong defence, ensuring all relevant factors and potential defences are thoroughly explored to protect your rights and achieving the best possible outcome.

What should I do if I am accused of sexual communication with a child?

Facing accusations of sexual communication with a child can be an overwhelming and distressing experience, but it is important to take the right steps if you are being charged with such an offence:

  • Seek legal advice immediately: contact an experienced solicitor who specialises in sexual offence cases as soon as possible to provide immediate legal assistance and guidance.
  • Do not communicate with the accuser: avoid contacting the person who made the allegations or discussing the case with anyone other than your solicitor. Any communication can potentially be used against you in court.
  • Preserve evidence: gather and preserve any evidence that may support your defence. This can include screenshots, messages, and any records that demonstrate your reasonable belief regarding the child’s age or the context of the communication.
  • Avoid social media: refrain from posting about the case on social media platforms. Anything you post can be scrutinised and potentially used by the prosecution.
  • Follow your solicitor’s advice: listen carefully to your solicitor’s advice and follow their instructions throughout the legal process. They will guide you on the best course of action based on the specifics of your case.
  • Prepare for interviews: if you are required to attend police station interviews or court proceedings, your solicitor will help you prepare. Understanding what to expect and how to respond is crucial for your defence.

What should I do if I have been targeted by a vigilante group?

Online child abuse activist groups (OCAGs), sometimes referred to as "vigilante groups," often use tactics to expose individuals they suspect of engaging in inappropriate communication with minors. These groups typically pose as children on social media platforms or online chat rooms to lure and record interactions that they believe demonstrate illegal activity.

If such a group has targeted you, you should seek legal advice from an experienced solicitor specialising in child sexual offence cases. You should also refrain from any further engagement with the vigilante group, as any interaction can be recorded and used against you.

In some cases, the methods used by OCAGs can interfere with due legal processes and your rights. Your solicitor will guide you through the next steps, including how to handle any public exposure or legal challenges that arise from the group's actions.

What are my rights if I have been communicating with an undercover police officer?

If you have been accused of sexual communication with a child after interacting with an undercover police officer, it is essential to understand your rights and the legal implications. Undercover operations are used to identify individuals attempting to engage in illegal activities, including inappropriate communication with minors.

When this happens, you have the right to legal representation. Contact an experienced solicitor immediately, and they will be able to determine whether there is any evidence to suggest you were entrapped, or that the undercover operations did not operate within legal boundaries.

What happens when the child victim does not exist?

In cases where the child victim does not exist, such as situations involving undercover police officers or vigilante groups posing as children during sexual interactions, the legal implications can still be severe. Even if the child is fictitious, the intention to carry out a child sex offence is enough to constitute a serious crime. The law focuses on the actions and intent of the accused rather than the existence of a real victim.

The prosecution must still prove that the communication was intended for obtaining sexual gratification, and that the accused believed they were communicating with a real child. Your solicitor can challenge the evidence and the procedures used during the investigation.

If found guilty, the accused can face penalties similar to those in cases with real victims, including imprisonment, registration as a sex offender, and other legal consequences. The court will consider the intent and actions of the accused in determining the appropriate sentence.

Contact Us Today

For more information about how the specialist sexual offence solicitors at Tyler Hoffman can help you with an allegation of sexual communication with a child, call us today for an initial consultation on 03300 536786, or fill out the contact form on this page to submit your query and arrange for a call back.

Services in this section

Indecent Images

Rape / Attempted Rape

Sexual Communication with a Child

Sexual Communication with a Child