MPs back plan for new sex offender orders

Controversial plans to introduce risk of sexual harm orders
within the Sexual Offences Bill to protect children from harm have
won backing from MPs, writes Sally

In its report on the bill, which will receive its second reading
in the House of Commons this week, the home affairs select
committee said it supports the introduction of RSHOs, despite
criticisms from civil liberties groups.

Liberty has argued that RSHOs, which can be used without any
offence being committed, “permit the badge of
paedophilia…to be placed upon a person who has never been
convicted of any criminal offence”.

If brought in, police will be able to apply for an order at a
magistrates court against an adult who it is thought poses a risk
to a child.

But despite supporting the clause, the committee has warned that
RSHOs must be carefully monitored by the government and numbers
annually reported to parliament.

It has also recommended that the application of a fixed period
of at least five years for an order should be deleted form the
bill, and courts should instead be given discretion to make a
decision based on how long the child needs protection.

Guidance on RSHOs says that they may be used where the behaviour
of an adult “gives reason to believe that the child is at
risk from the defendant’s conduct or communication and
intervention at this stage is necessary to protect the

The committee has also backed the inclusion of a grooming

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