Children facing Sexual Allegations

In this seminar, we discuss this legal guide which provides an overview of the law on allegations of sexual offences made against children. The guide provides an overview of the key offences, takes you through the main stages in a case, from the initial allegation to sentence and criminal records, and provides practical advice on the work that needs to be done by the defence at each point.

This seminar took place on 24 November 2022. For more detailed practical advice and information, check out our full legal guides on Children facing Sexual Allegations and Sexting.


Benjamin Newton – Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers

Benjamin Newton has practiced as a criminal defence barrister since 2004. He is instructed to defend those accused of the most serious and complex criminal offences, and regularly appears in high profile and legally significant cases. His specialisms include serious sexual offences and throughout his years in practice he has represented a significant number of children and young people accused of such crimes, as well as other offences including murder. He also sits as a Recorder in the Crown Court, with authorisation to try serious sexual offences, and as a judge of the First-tier Tribunal in mental health including the Restricted Patients Panel.

Dr Oliver Eastman

Dr Oliver Eastman is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist who works in both private practice and front-line services. He has extensive experience of managing, developing, and delivering services for children and young people displaying harmful sexual behaviour. He is currently the clinical lead within the National Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service (NCATS). This is an NSPCC national centre of expertise on children and young people who sexually harm others. He has a particular interest in developing a whole family response for children and families affected by sibling sexual abuse. He also has a strong interest in online sexual offending and contributed to the development of the AIM Technology Assisted HSB practice guidance. He is actively involved in training and research, and regularly presents at conferences. He also recently co-developed an evidence-based programme for parents and carers of children who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviour (‘Safe Home’). Between 2010 and 2018, he managed the ‘Youth in Need’ assessment and treatment service for adolescents convicted of sexual offences (aged 16-21). This service was jointly funded by the NHS and National Probation Service. His private practice includes preparing forensic assessment reports for the parole board and criminal and care proceedings.

Maeve Keenan – Solicitor, Kingley Napley Solicitors

Maeve Keenan is solicitor specialising in criminal litigation at Kingsley Napley LLP. Maeve’s day to day work includes a busy general crime practice, advising both adults and young people from the initial stages of a criminal investigation up to trial. She has acted for young people facing a range of offences including drugs offences, allegations of violence and both historical and current sexual offences. She has a particular interest in the topics of the use of stop and search against young people and the use of rap lyrics as evidence in criminal trials.

Laura Cooper (chair), Co-Head of the Youth Justice Legal Centre

Laura co-runs the Youth Justice Legal Centre at Just for Kids Law. She is a specialist youth justice lawyer with several years’ experience representing children in criminal courts. Laura oversees YJLC national advice line, writes best practice legal guides on youth justice issues and regularly delivers lectures and training on youth justice.