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 Tuesday, 19 November, 2002, 17:33 GMT
Sex offences crackdown at a glance
Home Secretary David Blunkett
Blunkett says laws must fit the 21st century
Home Secretary David Blunkett outlined government plans to strengthen the law to protect the public against sex offenders with a major reform of on sex offences.

Here are the proposals at a glance:

  • Stronger protection for children:

    Children under 13 should be deemed incapable of giving consent to any sexual activity.

    Any sexual intercourse with a child under 13 will be charged as rape, carrying a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

    A new offence of adult sexual activity with a child - which will include behaviour such as inducing youngsters to take their clothes off.

    New offence of sexual "grooming" designed to catch adults who meet a child with the intention of committing a sex offence before any activity takes place.

    It will be possible for a civil order to be made by the courts in respect of an adult deemed to be acting in a way that presents a risk of sexual harm to the child.

    A new offence of commercial sexual exploitation of a child, which includes child prostitution and pimping the child for prostitution or pornography.

  • Stronger offences for sexual violence:

    Clarifying the law on consent in regard to rape.

    Strengthening drug rape offences.

    Definition of rape extended.

    New offences of sexual assault by penetration and causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent.

  • Stronger protection for vulnerable people:

    Three new offences to give extra protection to those with a learning disability or mental disorder from sexual abuse.

  • Stronger offences to deal with sexual exploitation of adults:

    Covers causing or encouraging men or women to enter into prostitution and controlling their activities.

    A new offence of trafficking people for commercial sexual exploitation.

  • Stronger protection of the public:

    A new order to make convicted sex offenders from overseas register when they come to the UK, whether or not they have committed a crime here.

    Sex offenders on the register to confirm their details in person each year and to provide National Insurance details.

    Sex offenders to notify the police of name or address change in three days, rather than 14.

    Sex Offender Orders and Sex Offender Restraining Orders to be available for anyone convicted of a violent offence where there is evidence they present a risk of causing serious sexual harm.

    Outdoor sexual activity will not be a criminal offence, as long as it is away from unwilling witnesses.

    Flashing, or indecent exposure, with intent to shock will be a new offence, carrying a maximum penalty of two years jail.

    Voyeurism - a new offence capturing those who watch others without their knowledge for sexual gratification.

    Bestiality - a new offence will criminalise those who perform sex acts on animals

    New offence covering sexual interference with human remains

      The BBC's Daniel Sandford
    "The Government will outlaw grooming"
      Hilary Benn, Labour MP and Home Office minister
    "We need laws for the current Century"
      Harry Fletcher, national assoc of probation officers
    "It seems to me, fraught with difficulties"
    See also:

    19 Nov 02 | Politics
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