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Talking to minors online: what our sexual offence solicitor needs you to know
10 May 2023

In the UK, the law is stringent when it comes to talking to people under the age of 16 online if you are an adult.

Indeed, in the US and the UK, there have been many people caught by ‘sting’ operations, where they thought they were talking to a minor, but it turned out to be a police officer or another official posing as one.

If you have found yourself in this unfortunate situation, there are many things to consider. As a starting point, you should contact our team to seek legal advice.

When you speak to our team at ABV Solicitors, we will aim to put together the best possible defence for your case. Our sexual offence solicitor is trained to analyse all areas of your case and determine the best outcome for you based on your side of the story.

So, if you have got into trouble as part of a sting operation or you have been caught talking to minors online, here are some of the things that will be explored by the police, according to our sexual offence solicitor.


The intent in relation to sexual offences refers to the mental state of the perpetrator at the time the offence was committed. In criminal law, the plan or intent generally refers to a person’s purpose or knowledge when committing an act. For example, if a person engages in sexual activity with another person without their consent, the presence or absence of intent may determine whether or not the act is considered a sexual offence.

If the person intended to commit the act without the other person’s consent, this would typically be considered a sexual offence. However, if they mistakenly believed that the other person had consented, this may be taken into account when determining their guilt or innocence.

So, if the intent of you talking to minors online appears to be wanting to engage in sexual activity, then you will need to speak with our sexual offence solicitor.

What happened

When it comes to sentencing cases where someone has been talking to minors online, it is essential to note that there is now no distinction in sentences when it comes to someone who met up and actually engaged in sexual acts with a minor.

However, our trained team will help to mitigate your sentence based on what happened, as well as the intention and other factors.

Your mental state

If you were engaging in conversations with a minor online and you were later found to have impaired judgement based on your mental state, then this will also be looked into when it comes to sentencing.

This is, however, a challenging area to prove, and our team will need to contact your doctors or mental health providers to ensure that we have all of the evidence required to use this as a defence for you.

If, for instance, you were already in therapy and/or taking medication and decided to stop, this would likely be held against you, especially if these preventive steps were in place due to previous instances of sexual offences.

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