Measures designed to increase protection of children and vulnerable
people from sexual abuse were launched last week.
The government’s Sexual Offences Bill includes a range of new
offences first aired in the Queen’s Speech last November, such as
inappropriately persuading children to undress and a new grooming
offence based on meeting a child with the intention of committing a
sexual offence (news, page 6, 21 November).
New offences relating to sexual exploitation of a child for a
person’s own gain will carry long custodial sentences.
Any offence involving penetration of a child under 13 or a person
who can’t give consent will attract a life sentence.
Those committed of sex crimes overseas will also have to register
as sex offenders.
Home secretary David Blunkett said: “Sexual crime, especially
against children, can tear apart the very fabric of society.”