Cheyenne O’Connor: Lack of online child protection in Guernsey is ‘disgusting’

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The 25-year-old has helped to bring 13 men to justice in Jersey and three in the UK after posing as a child on internet dating sites. Four other cases are currently going through the court system.

Recently the Islander has targeted online offenders in Guernsey, but has been left shocked at the lack of child protection laws covering web-based activity.

‘It was only recently that I discovered there are no grooming laws in Guernsey and I think it’s disgusting.

‘Grooming is happening to real children and I think I’ve proved that. We have to move with the times. Kids live on the internet these days and grooming laws should be there already,’ she said.

A report by the States of Guernsey published in 2011 identified that some sexual offences laws were 100 years old – but eight years on the legislation has not been updated.

In 2016, the island’s Home Affairs Committee said it planned to take a new sexual offenders law to the States by the middle of the following year.

Now it says it plans to do so early this year, but has refused to be more specific.

Once the law is approved it will still require ratification by the Privy Council before registration in Guernsey.

Home Affairs president Deputy Mary Lowe said her committee was committed to delivering three separate work streams regarding updating the vetting and barring legislation and the sexual offences legislation, and introducing new laws to protect children from accessing internet pornography.

A spokesman for the NSPCC said: ‘It is alarming that gaps still remain in Guernsey’s sexual offences legislation, leaving children unprotected from some of the most serious of crimes.

‘Proposed changes have taken too long to come to fruition and immediate action is required to ensure the most vulnerable people in our society – children – are protected by law.

‘Implementing the changes as swiftly as possible will bring Guernsey in line with the UK, and into the 21st century, in terms of helping keep children safe from sexual abuse, grooming and exploitation.’

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