On 3 April 2017, it became a criminal offence for an adult (18 or over) to conduct sexual communications with a child under 16 years old. This was with the intention of stopping sexual grooming at an early stage, particularly via social media and mobile messaging.
The IICSA begins today a public hearing in connection with its investigation into child sexual abuse and the internet. This is a huge task and clearly differs from the majority of other investigations which are considering events which occurred many decades ago, something which is of much less relevance when focusing on the part played by the internet.
This first public hearing which is due to last five days, focuses on the part played by the police and the National Crime Agency in responding to abuse facilitated by the internet as well as considering the current scale of online facilitated child sexual abuse and how the police nationally and regionally respond to it.