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Press releases archive

 

Government moves to prevent sexual abuse of children in the UK and abroad

14 October 2013

ParliamentECPAT UK today expressed delight with new Government proposals to restrict the activities of anyone who poses a risk of sexual harm to children and adults, under new measures in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill. 

For more than 20 years, ECPAT UK has repeatedly called on the UK Government to do more to manage child sex offenders and strengthen its commitment to protect children in the UK and abroad. More recently, ECPAT UK supported the Childhood Lost campaign, launched by Nicola Blackwood MP and signed by more than 100,000 people, calling for tightening the law on sex offenders in the UK and those planning to travel abroad.

The new measures – the Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) and Sexual Risk Order (SRO) – proposed by Policing and Criminal Justice Minister Damian Green MP, will give police greater powers to place a range of restrictions on individuals depending on the nature of the case, such as limiting their internet use, preventing them from being alone with a child under 16 or preventing travel abroad. The proposals signal Government acceptance of an amendment to the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill tabled by Nicola Blackwood MP and an important victory for ECPAT UK, following extensive campaigning for the Government to do more to prevent the sexual abuse of children in the UK and abroad.

In an earlier review of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, commissioned by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), ECPAT UK research highlighted the failure of existing laws and extra-jurisdictional policing arrangements to prevent British sex offenders from travelling or to prosecute them when they commit offences abroad, thus putting vulnerable children at high risk of sexual abuse in the UK and abroad. 

Bharti Patel, CEO of ECPAT UK, said: “Protecting children from sexual and violent abuse should be a primary consideration for every government. It is important that laws act as deterrents and there is a fighting chance that this new provision will do just that. These long overdue changes to sexual prevention orders are crucially important measures to enable early intervention by the police and stop British offenders from being given any opportunity to abuse children anywhere.

We are indeed grateful to Nicola Blackwood MP for championing this in the Houses of Parliament and look forward to seeing other cross-party MPs support the amendment, ensuring protection of children everywhere.”

The new orders will replace three current orders – the Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO), the Risk of Sexual Harm Order (ROSHO) and the Foreign Travel Order (FTO) – and can be made by a court on conviction or application to the magistrates court by the National Crime Agency or police court based on the intelligence they have on the person who poses a risk of sexual harm in the UK or abroad.

ENDS

About ECPAT UK

ECPAT UK has campaigned for 20 years to protect children everywhere from child trafficking and child sexual exploitation. For more information about our work, please visit www.ecpat.org.uk

About the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill

Proposals in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill will debated on Monday 14 October 2013. Access Policing and Criminal Justice Minister Damien Green MP’s statement and full contents of the Bill here

About ECPAT UK research on the Sexual Offences Act 2003

In May 2013, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) commissioned a review of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, calling into question the United Kingdom’s law and extra-jurisdictional policing arrangements for their failure to prevent British sex offenders from travelling or to prosecute them when they commit offences abroad. The full report can be accessed here

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