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Professor Alisdair Gillespie
Professor of Law, Barrister
Alisdair’s research interests lie in the area of criminal law and criminal justice. More specifically his expertise relates to legal issues concerning the sexual exploitation of children, particularly where it is facilitated by Information and Communication Technologies.
Child sexual exploitation
Alisdair has written a number of books on this area of his research. His most recent monograph, Child Pornography: Law and Policy, was published in 2011. The book ‘[d]raws on interdisciplinary work in order to critically address the law relating to child pornography.’ (routledge.com book description). In 2008, Alisdair had three monographs published. Sexual Exploitation of Children: Law and Punishment ‘[e]xamines the controversial subject of the sexual abuse and exploitation of children in Ireland. It demonstrates how the law may be applied and where future legislation may arise.’ (roundhall.ie product details) Child Exploitation and Communication Technologies ‘[g]ives a conceptual understanding of new technologies, new laws and new court decisions; and provides insights into a range of sexually abusive behaviours that both evolve and stay distressingly the same.’ (russellhouse.co.uk book description) The book has been well received:
‘[e]xtremely useful for all working in a child protection framework.’
‘Useful to anyone who wants to be better informed about this insidious use of technology to abuse children. It covers bullying and harassment, child pornography, indecent images, grooming, child procurement and prostitution. The author does not talk down to his reader as he has that rare gift of communication that sets out difficult ideas in a way that is easy to understand. What it does show is the difficulty the law has in addressing these crimes and their fast evolving nature … very useful and enlightening … as technology marches ever forwards with new dangers for children eager to embrace it … it will be a useful addition to the library of books that informs our understanding of child protection.’
Also in 2008, Alisdair co-authored Sexual Offences (with R. Card and M. Hirst). The book ‘[i]s a major work providing a clear, detailed and authoritative analysis of this complicated area of criminal law … this new work deals with all sexual offences along with related evidential provisions and provisions about sentencing and other consequences of conviction of special relevance to sex offenders.’ (jordanpublishing.com overview). It has been very well received:
‘Practitioners generally like to see the law clearly and easily stated. They also appreciate some expansion on its meaning and some assistance with its application. All of these elements are contained within the book … very easy to access … Anyone involved at any level in dealing with the implementation of the law in this field will find this an invaluable resource in what is renowned as one of the most complex areas of criminal legislation, and it will be a welcome addition to anyone’s library.’
Alisdair has published a number of books chapters on this area of his research, as well as publishing extensively in journals. The complete list of his publications can be found on Alisdair’s research profile.
Impact on public policy, law and services:
Alisdair is an academic advisor to The Sentencing Council. He is assisting in their preparations for the review and reissue of the definitive sex offences guideline.
Alisdair is an Associate Member, a ‘friend’, of the International Association of Prosecutors. He is particularly involved with the development of the Global Prosecutors E-crime Network.
The Crown Prosecution Service asked Alisdair for assistance in the writing, and updating of their prosecution guidance relating to indecent images of children.
Alisdair was a legal auditor for the Police National Legal Database, the principal database used by law enforcement agencies in the UK. He checked the legal accuracy of material produced by the database.
Alisdair was a member of the Home Secretary’s Internet Task Force on Child Protection. This involved assisting officials in the briefing of ministers, evaluating laws and assisting in the drafting of new legislation, for example the Sex Offences Act 2003 and the Police and Justice Act 2006.
Influence on professional standards, guidelines or training:
Alisdair is an expert speaker on the TAIEX Programme (EU). In this position he is sent to countries on behalf of the EU to undertake high-level training on issues relating to child sexual exploitation on the internet.
Alisdair was engaged by the Crown Prosecution Service’s Prosecutors College to provide academic expertise on their e-learning development for e-crime.
Alisdair assisted several Crown Prosecution Service areas in their training for the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
Shaping or influence on policy made by government, quasi-government bodies, NGOs or private organisations:
Alisdair is a member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, a UK government initiative. He is also a member of the research expert’s panel.
Alisdair was a member of the G8 Expert Advisory Group. He provided advice on the risk to children posed by child pornography offenders that was formally recognized in the G8 ministerial declaration.
Influencing the work of NGO’s:
Alisdair is Trustee, Director and Chair of the Marie-Collins Foundation, a registered charity that works with children who have been the subject of sexual abuse or exploitation through images being produced.
Alisdair is Trustee of ECPAT UK, one of the biggest charities in the UK dedicated to combating child sexual exploitation.
Alisdair is a member of the advisory board of INHOPE, the international association of hotlines relating to child sexual exploitation material.
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