My Lords, I shall be brief. The noble and learned Baroness, Lady Butler-Sloss, has rightly set out in some detail a strong case for Amendment 40BZB, with which we are associated. I will not attempt to repeat the points that have already been so effectively and powerfully made. The need to recognise in the Bill that harm can be caused by emotional ill treatment and emotional neglect as well as physical ill treatment and neglect is important, as is the substitution of “serious harm”, which is consistent with other areas of criminal law, for “unnecessary suffering”, including the inference that there can be necessary suffering.
The amendment also defines “harm” and “wilfully”, with the latter definition stating that the person has to have the capacity to foresee that an act or omission would be likely to result in harm but none the less unnecessarily took that risk.
We also support the amendment moved in the name of my noble friend Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede that it should be specific that the age of children to whom a child cruelty offence applies is “under 18”.