Online Safety Act 2023: Convictions

Attorney General written question – answered am ar 20 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Chris Elmore Chris Elmore Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Attorney General, how many successful prosecutions have been made for new criminal offences created by the Online Safety Act 2023.

Photo of Chris Elmore Chris Elmore Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Attorney General, how many prosecutions have been made under new criminal offences created by the Online Safety Act 2023.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Attorney-General

I wrote to you on this important subject on Friday 17 May 2024. For completeness, I set out my full written response below.

Tackling violence that disproportionately impacts women and girls remains one of this government’s top priorities. Women and girls should be able to go about their lives without being subjected to unwanted sexual images. Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecutors are committed to tackling this unacceptable behaviour.

As you know, this government has recently enacted new offences designed to tackle online offending through the Online Safety Act 2023. This includes the offence of cyberflashing and other intimate image offences.

The CPS has welcomed the enactment of these new offences designed to target predatory behaviour and non-contact sexual offences. It has introduced comprehensive updates to prosecution guidance to support prosecutors to better recognise behaviour-driven and escalating offending. Additionally, it has published ‘Communications Offences’ legal guidance which includes online offences relating to violence against women and girls.

Whilst this legislation is still new, the police are referring more cases to the CPS for charging decisions and I can confirm the CPS secured their first conviction for cyberflashing in February 2024, resulting in the offender being jailed for 66 weeks at Southend Crown Court. I am unable to provide detail on any other cases where there may be live criminal proceedings.

Regrettably, I am unable to provide you with data on prosecutions under the Online Safety Act yet. However, in July the CPS will publish its next data summary covering the period January to March 2024 and after this summary release, more granular data may be shared publicly. This pause ahead of publishing data allows for quality assurance checks and internal scrutiny before publication.

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