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Child abuse loophole closed
People accused of seriously abusing children or vulnerable adults, who try to escape justice by staying silent or blaming someone else, face up to 10 years in prison now that the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Act 2012 has come into force.
The Act 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.
Crown Prosecution Service data on cases where children were seriously harmed but no successful prosecution could be brought include a five-month-old baby who suffered a brain hemorrhage and fractured skull and a two-week-old with a broken collar bone, ribs and leg.
The Act is the result of a Private Member’s Bill introduced by Sir Paul Beresford MP, which the Government backed to ensure it became law.
“By making sure this Bill became law we have taken the opportunity to close a terrible loophole which has, until now, allowed people accused of seriously harming a child or vulnerable adult to escape unpunished,” said Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke. “We want to do everything possible to ensure that the most vulnerable members of our society are kept safe in their homes, and those that abuse their power do not evade justice.”
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