The purpose of this study is to better understand how online grooming offences are committed and how they can be policed.
A range of possible offences may be used where an adult engages in sexual activity with a child, depending on the nature of the sexual activity.
Toni Makkai Director Children are growing up with computers.
In 68 per cent of cases the adult sought offline contact with the child.
In 48 per cent of cases the adult suspect was arrested at the intended rendezvous with the child.
Various facilities are available to search out others with similar backgrounds or interests.
If a child enters an online chat room they may encounter an adult person, who may or may not be pretending to be a child, but who is on the lookout for a child to whom they can 'talk dirty', send obscene images, obtain sexually explicit pictures, engage in cybersex or meet for sex offline.
The Act inserted section 218A into the Queensland Criminal Code.
The provision makes it an offence for an adult to use electronic communication (such as email, internet chat rooms, SMS messages, real time audio/video or other similar communication) with the intention of procuring a person under the age of 16 years (or whom the adult believes to be under 16 years) to engage in a sexual act.
The adult might strike up a conversation which very soon progresses to a sexually explicit topic.
In some jurisdictions there may be a limited range of possible offences to cover such actions.
The maximum penalty provided is five years imprisonment.
However, a maximum penalty of 10 years applies if the child is, or is believed by the adult to be, less than 12 years of age.
Where there are laws in place, how are we to combat this predatory type of behaviour?