New laws on sexual offences, public order and service scrutiny enacted

Bills introducing new laws on antisocial behaviour, sexual offences
and the inspection of health and social care services made it on to
the statute book last week as the parliamentary session came to a

The Health and Social Care Bill, which paves the way for the
Commission for Social Care Inspection, completed its troubled
passage through parliament when MPs narrowly voted against a Lords
amendment to delete foundation hospitals.

The new act also covers the establishment of the Commission for
Healthcare Audit and Inspection, and the new GP contract.

The Sexual Offences Act is the biggest legislative shake-up of
sexual offences law for 50 years. It introduces measures to protect
children and vulnerable people from abuse.

Under the new act, any person who has sex with a child under 13
will be guilty of rape and a new grooming offence based on meeting
a child with the intention of committing a sex offence will carry a
maximum 10-year sentence.

There will be three new offences to protect people with learning
difficulties, including breach of a relationship of care.

Anyone on the sex offenders register, including those who have
committed crimes abroad, must register their details each year and
notify the police of a change of name or address within three days
instead of 14.

A new offence of trafficking people for sexual exploitation will
also be introduced.

The new Antisocial Behaviour Act extends the fixed penalty notices
fining scheme to 16 and 17 year olds and will cover noise nuisance
and truancy. Schools, councils and youth offending teams will be
able to offer support and sanctions for parents to help them
address their children’s antisocial behaviour.

Measures to allow police to disperse groups of children are also
included. And there are measures to demote the tenancies of people
found guilty of antisocial behaviour, which homelessness charities
say will increase the likelihood of eviction, causing more

The new Criminal Justice Act also received royal assent. Under
this, individual support orders will be introduced to help
juveniles tackle antisocial behaviour and its underlying causes.

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