Committee (3rd Day)

Part of Serious Crime Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 15th July 2014.

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Photo of Baroness Walmsley Baroness Walmsley Liberal Democrat 4:15 pm, 15th July 2014

My Lords, we have had a very good debate. Quite clearly there is a great deal of consensus across the House. I echo what the noble Baroness, Lady Howarth, said. I hope that we can have further discussions about this between now and Report and that we come to some consensus as to what may or may not need clarifying. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, and the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham for agreeing with me that we need to level up the age at which we consider children to be vulnerable. They may be able to get married legally, but that does not mean that they are not vulnerable. There is also considerable consensus that the word “wilfully” needs clarifying and there have been various suggestions about how that should be done. The Government believe that we need Clause 62 even though the law already allows child abuse to be interpreted as psychological. In the same sort of way, although there may already be agreed definitions of “wilfully”, there may still be a need to clarify that in one way or another, based on the various amendments that we have had. I am sure we can come to some agreement about how that might be done. There has also been consensus about the need to remove the word “unnecessary” or perhaps the whole term “unnecessary suffering” and to change it in some other way.

I hope that the Minister will be able to accept that we need further discussions about this between now and Report. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 40BZA withdrawn.

Amendments 40BZB and 40BZC not moved.

Clause 62 agreed.

Amendment 40BZD

Moved by Baroness Brinton

40BZD: After Clause 62, insert the following new Clause—

“Child cruelty: duty on police officers to liaise

(1) Where an officer is investigating a potential offence under section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (cruelty to persons under 16), as amended by section 62 of this Act, he or she must notify the Safeguarding Children and Adults Board of the relevant local authority.

(2) A notification must include details of the child or children who are considered to be the victims of the offence.

(3) The Secretary of State may produce further guidance on the form a notification under this section may take.”