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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

The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

Find out more about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service

Paedophile who used internet chat room to encourage rape of a child is jailed


A paedophile from Staffordshire who encouraged the rape of a six-year-old boy via an internet chat room has been jailed.

Philip Crabtree, 35, pleaded guilty to multiple offences, including encouraging the rape, at an earlier hearing in June and was sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison at Stoke Crown Court today (5 Sep).

Transcripts from the chat room during the sexual abuse of the six-year-old in the United States showed how Crabtree encouraged the abuse.

On other occasions Crabtree, from Newcastle-under-Lyme, viewed videos shared by paedophiles of children as young as two being raped or abused.

Laura Tams, from the CPS, said:

"Along with others, Philip Crabtree participated in a chat room discussion and watched on with clear enjoyment while a young boy was raped.

"The CPS was involved from an early stage and built a compelling case against Crabtree, who pleaded guilty.

"Thanks to the co-operation between authorities in this country and around the world, Crabtree has been brought to justice for his actions."


Notes to Editors

  1. Laura Tams is a Specialist Prosecutor with the CPS International Justice and Organised Crime Division
  2. Another man present in the chat room at the time of the rape, Darren Williams, was jailed for 11 years in July 2017
  3. Philip Crabtree pleaded guilty 12 charges at Stoke Crown Court on 26 June 2017 as follows:
    • encouraging rape
    • encouraging the distribution of indecent images of children x8
    • making indecent images of children x3
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  5. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906. Out of Hours - 07590 617233