New guidance to stop sexting children facing criminal records

The Sunday Times is reporting that plans for new guidance will mean children who text intimate photographs of themselves to friends will no longer face prosecution and the prospect of a criminal record.

The paper reports that the new guidance will also advise head teachers on when to report sexting incidents to police, taking into account factors such as age, whether any coercion was involved in the sending or receiving, whether it involves full frontal nudity and whether those involved have done similar things previously.

The police are also being given the option to log cases under a new low-level crime-related behaviour category where cases would be passed on to counsellors or social workers, but not result in prosecution or be forwarded to the Disclosure and Barring Service.

The new guidance, the paper notes, could be sent to police in the next few weeks once ministerial clearance has been obtained.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the police chief in charge of all child sex abuse investigations in England and Wales, is quoted:

“We have to be careful we do not send a message out to children that sexting is OK. Children need to understand that it is a criminal offence and that there are significant risks associated with it. We do not want to criminalise young people. We understand children are vulnerable.”

The children’s charity the NSPCC is quoted:

“Our stance has always been that we do not want children to be criminalised for sexting.”

More at: Retreat on child sexting crimes

If the report here is accurate, does it sound like the new guidance is better balanced and more appropriate than before?

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