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Sexual Offences

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 updated the law, much of which dated back to 1956.

The main provisions of the Act include the following:

  • Rape is widened to include oral penetration
  • Significant changes to the issue of consent
  • Specific offences relating to children under 13, 16 and 18
  • Offences to protect vulnerable persons with a mental disorder
  • Other miscellaneous offences
  • Strengthening the notification requirements and providing new civil preventative orders

Find out more about how we prosecute sexual offences

Online paedophile who used video conferencing software to share abuse images jailed


A paedophile who used video conferencing software to share images and videos of children being sexually abused has been jailed today (Oct 20).

Matt De Vere, 34, admitted multiple charges including the distribution of indecent images and possession of extreme pornography at an earlier hearing and was sentenced to two years in prison at Chelmsford Crown Court.

The court heard how De Vere, from Southend, was initially arrested after investigators examined web chats belonging to Peter Allott, who was jailed for similar offences last year.

Investigators found thousands of indecent images of children on various computers at his home address, including more than 1,000 images at the most serious 'Category A' level.

Further analysis of the computers showed how De Vere used conferencing software such as Skype and Zoom to communicate and share images and videos of abuse with other paedophiles, including the rape of young children.

Punam Chopra, from the CPS, said: "Matt De Vere used what he believed was the anonymity of the internet to distribute distressing images of children and to encourage others to share them with him, including ones depicting the horrific abuse of a baby.

"He used legitimate conferencing software to share and receive these images and it is clear from the messages exchanged that he took pleasure in viewing child abuse.

"The CPS worked with investigators from an early stage to secure compelling evidence of De Vere's activities and faced with that evidence, he pleaded guilty."


De Vere admitted the following charges at Chelmsford Crown Court on September 12:

  • Distributing indecent photograph(s) of a child x4
  • Encouraging the distribution of indecent photograph(s) of a child x6
  • Making indecent photographs of a child x3
  • Possession of extreme pornography x1


Notes to Editors

  1. Punam Chopra is a Specialist Prosecutor with the CPS International Justice and Organised Crime Division
  2. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk on Twitter and visit our official News Brief -
  3. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906. Out of Hours - 07590 617233