Child Abuse Offences (Sentencing) — [Mrs Madeleine Moon in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:24 pm on 13th March 2017.

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Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 5:24 pm, 13th March 2017

My hon. Friend makes a very important point. Of course I will speak to my colleagues in the Ministry of Justice.

I want to finish my point on perpetrators time-wasting, demanding things of the police and extracting information from forfeited devices. Liz Saville Roberts gave an example of a teacher who undoubtedly, as they were going on the sex offenders register, would never be a teacher again. They did not need the teaching plans and resources that they wanted to extract from their computer. That was a dreadful waste of police time. I will certainly take that up to see what more we can do to clamp down on it.

The Prime Minister recently said that she is minded to introduce a new Bill in the next Session to look at what more we can do about domestic abuse and domestic violence. This debate is specifically about child sexual violence and abuse, but that Bill will enable us to look at what more we can do legally. The Home Secretary will chair a group of experts to look at what more we can do to support victims in the criminal justice system to ensure their experience is as positive as possible. The evidence that we get will secure the best possible outcomes. As that Bill is developed, there will be opportunities to look at some of the issues that have been raised today.

A question was asked about what is called Helen’s law. We heard about the absolutely horrendous situation of families who want to know where the bodies of their loved ones have been put by the horrendous criminals who perpetrated those acts. I am a mother myself, so I understand that families want to know exactly where their children’s remains are so they can be reunited with them, lay them to rest and have a place to visit them. The Justice Minister made it clear that he is looking at options to encourage offenders to say where the remains are, including making their release conditional on declaring that information. The Ministry of Justice is doing good work to ensure that happens.