Publication - Independent report

Harmful sexual behaviour by children and young people: Expert Group report

This report sets out proposals from the Expert Group on Preventing Sexual Offending Involving Children and Young People to improve prevention and early intervention in response to harmful sexual behaviour involving children and young people.

Harmful sexual behaviour by children and young people: Expert Group report
Annex B: Examples of current legislation on sexual crimes which require proof of age of the complainer or accused; and a map showing potential case routes

Annex B: Examples of current legislation on sexual crimes which require proof of age of the complainer or accused; and a map showing potential case routes

The first two Acts referred to below deal with the taking and sharing of images

Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982

  • section 52A - possession of indecent photographs of children.

A child is defined as under the age of 18. The age of the accused is irrelevant, as is the issue of consent.

Being a child is not a defence to the crime of possession or distribution of indecent images of children (*other than in the very limited circumstances set out in section 52B concerning 16 and 17 year olds in 'established' relationships or where both parties are married).

Communications Act 2003

  • section 127 - improper use of public electronic communications network

This includes sending a sexual image or verbal message. The ages of the recipient of the electronic communication and the accused are irrelevant, as is the issue of consent.

Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009

Part 4 of the 2009 Act describes 'protective offences' which prohibit sexual contact with a child or young person of certain ages

  • section 21 - causing a young child to participate in a sexual activity
  • section 22 - causing a young child to be present during a sexual activity
  • section 23 - causing a young child to look at a sexual image
  • section 24 - communicating indecently with a young child, etc.
  • section 25 - sexual exposure to a young child

A 'young child' is defined as aged 12 or younger. The age of the accused is irrelevant, as is the issue of consent.

  • section 31 - causing an older child to participate in a sexual activity
  • section 32 - causing an older child to be present during asexual activity
  • section 33 - causing an older child to look at a sexual image
  • section 34 - communicating indecently with an older child, etc.
  • section 35 - sexual exposure to an older child

An 'older child' is defined as aged between 13 and 15. The accused person must be at least 16. The issue of consent is irrelevant.

The chart below from CYCJ shows the potential routes that may be followed when a child or young person is reported to the Children's Reporter or COPFS:

Potential routes for a child or young person reported to the Children’s Reporter or COPFS


Contact

Email: Child_Protection@gov.scot