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Thursday, 21 September, 2000, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
Concern over paedophile action
SImon Hughes
Simon Hughes backs indefinite sentences
The Liberal Democrats have approved a raft of measures aimed at addressing public concerns about paedophiles in the wake of the murder of Sarah Payne.

Home affairs spokesman Simon Hughes said that serious sex offenders could be given indefinite sentences with a minimum value, but a court would decide whether they should be released.


We must do more to protect children like Sarah Payne who unnecessarily lost her life at an early age

Gary Glover
Factors to be taken into account should include their individual circumstances and whether satisfactory arrangements had been made for their release into society.

Access to programmes for treating sex offenders, drug and anger management were essential, he said.

Mr Hughes stressed, however, that victims should be entitled to know the date of their attacker's release from prison and the location of his whereabouts afterwards.

Mr Hughes also used his speech to criticise the News of the World. The paper ran a 'name and shame' campaign which led to public disquiet and protests across the UK.

"The News of the World were entirely irresponsible and entirely self-serving," he said.

Sympathy

Speakers from the floor were sympathetic both to the families of the victims of paedophiles and those who protested against them.

Gary Glover, of North Southwark and Bermondsey, said: "We must do more to protect children like Sarah Payne who unnecessarily lost her life at an early age."

Alan Bailey, of Portsmouth North, said the protests in the nearby Paulsgrove estate had been a "predominantly female campaign".

"If you are leading a one-parent family, having come yourself from a background of considerable under-privilege, gone as far as a relationship which has produced children and you are then left physically holding the babies when your partner has gone off, there may be a tendency for you... to react far more aggressively to threats you perceive to yourself.

"If you haven't got very much then maybe something you are going to be concerned about protecting is the one thing you know you've got, which is children."

The conference also voted for the names of UK citizens who have committed sexual offences abroad to be included in the sex offenders register.

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See also:

16 Sep 00 | UK Politics
Straw rules out sex register law
14 Aug 00 | Talking Point
Has naming and shaming gone too far?
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