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New offence strengthens child protection laws

A new law is now in force to tackle cases of causing or allowing serious physical harm to a child or vulnerable adult. The offence, part of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Act 2012, came into effect on Monday.

It extends the offence of causing or allowing the death of a child or vulnerable adult to causing or allowing serious physical harm, like inflicting brain damage or broken bones.

Until now there had been a loophole in the law, which meant that it was difficult to prosecute some cases where the adults involved stayed silent or blamed each other.

The Act is the result of a Private Member’s Bill introduced by Sir Paul Beresford MP.

“After spending time with the Metropolitan Police I realised there were loopholes in the law that the Government could close to protect children and vulnerable adults,” he explained. “This new legislation will ensure that fewer cases of abuse slip through the net and is another safeguard to protect some of the most vulnerable members of our society.”

According to NSPCC Chief Executive Andrew Flanagan, the new law is a real victory for children.

“This new legislation provides a protective shield for children because those intending to harm them will know there is no longer an unpalatable legal ‘get out’,” he said.

 

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