24 July 2015
This section introduces new section 22A into the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008.
Section 22A provides that an adult person (18 years or over) commits an offence if they communicate sexually with a child under 16 years (or a child who the person committing the offence believes to be under 16 years) for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification, or if they encourage the child to make a communication that is sexual, with them or someone else.
It defines a sexual communication as one which relates to sexual activity or where a reasonable person would consider it to be sexual. It defines sexual activity as an activity that a reasonable person would consider to be sexual.
Those found guilty of the offence would be liable to up to 6 months imprisonment, or a fine on summary conviction, or imprisonment of up to 2 years on indictment. Those guilty of the offence would also be subject to notification requirements under the terms of Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.