Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham) (Con): On tackling international terrorism, calling this evil organisation ISIL or Islamic State—no such state exists—

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only gives it legitimacy by linking it to Islam. Why not call it what Prince Turki al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia calls it, namely Faesh, meaning an obscene organisation committing obscenities?

The Prime Minister: I think there is a case for that, but there has not been a tradition of calling it Daesh in Britain and I think people would find it difficult to know exactly what we were referring to. Some media organisations refer to it as either “ISIL” or “so-called Islamic State” and I think that is better than “Islamic State”, because, frankly, it is not a picture of what millions of people who follow the religion of Islam see as Islam. It is also very arguable whether it is a functioning state, so I think that “so-called” or “self-styled Islamic State” is better. I do not think that “Daesh” would be widely understood, although people in the middle east, France and elsewhere use it as a term.

Mr Ian Davidson (Glasgow South West) (Lab/Co-op): Does the Prime Minister agree that every day we should all give thanks for the fact that Britain did not join the euro? Does he agree that the eurozone and the EU seem to be much tougher on Greece than they are on Russia, and is that simply because Greece is small and Russia is large?

The Prime Minister: This issue is not really for Britain, but between Greece and her creditors. I am happy to say that, because this Government got us out of the bail-out zones, we are not one of Greece’s creditors. All I can say is that I understand the passions on both sides. I can understand why German and Dutch Prime Ministers feel so strongly that they must get back the money they have lent and should not take a massive loss, but I can also understand the desire of the Greek people to see some economic growth after having seen their GDP decline 25%, so one can understand the arguments. Fundamentally, this is part of the problem of the design of the eurozone, which is why we are not in it.

Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con): I overheard two constituents talking about the EU. They were discussing why the country should come out of this terrible superstate. One of them said, “In this country, we have created more jobs than the rest of the EU added together”, and the other one said, “Well, it’s happening in north Northamptonshire: in Kettering, unemployment has fallen by more than 50%; in Wellingborough, it has fallen by more than 55%; and in Corby, it has fallen by more than 60%.” The thing that Mrs Bone and Tom Pursglove, the excellent Conservative candidate for Corby, agreed on was that the long-term economic plan is working. Are they right?

The Prime Minister: It is obviously good to bring those characters together in one good story. The point I would make is that it is true we have created more jobs in Britain than the rest of the EU put together over the past four and three-quarter years, which is 1,000 jobs a day. I would argue that the best way to go on creating jobs is to reform the European Union, have the renegotiation and then have a referendum, where the best outcome would be Britain remaining part of a reformed European Union. I think we can get the best of both worlds.

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Helen Goodman (Bishop Auckland) (Lab): One of the schoolgirls was lured over Twitter by another girl from the same school who had gone to Syria just before Christmas. Surely, that demonstrates to the Prime Minister the weakness of his relying on a voluntary approach with social media firms. Will he explain why the authorities did not keep track of the girl who had already gone to Syria?

The Prime Minister: That is a very difficult question. We do not have an entirely voluntary approach with social media companies. We passed a law through this House, the so-called DRIPA legislation—the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014—so that we can enforce the extraterritoriality of our desire to see the data and content of communications between potential terrorists. We have that legal power because of the work we have done during this Parliament. The point I made in my statement, and which I will continue to make, is that getting organisations such as Twitter, Facebook and Google to help us, where possible, to combat terrorist extremism voluntarily—by taking down pages with extremist content, and revealing to us people whom they think might be at risk of radicalisation, extremism or worse—is all to the good, but when it comes to combating terrorism, we have legal remedies as well.

Sarah Newton (Truro and Falmouth) (Con): The Government have made real progress in this Parliament in raising awareness and preventing the online sexual exploitation of young British people. Will my right hon. Friend commit to putting just as much effort into preventing the radicalisation and recruitment of young British people into these hateful terrorist organisations?

The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. It is interesting that when we started down the path of saying to internet companies that they must help us to get child pornography and disgusting child sex pictures off the internet, the response was, “We’re not responsible for what people look for; we’re not responsible for doing anything other than supporting free speech.” To be fair to those organisations, they have moved miles from that position. They have now banned something like 40,000 repulsive search terms: if people plug them into their computer, they will get a nil return on them. They have done that not just in Britain, but all over the world. My hon. Friend is absolutely right that we now need to get them to apply the same thinking to the problems of extremist violence and terrorism. There are some differences, but I am quite clear that if we ask companies to employ some social responsibility, they can work with us to take down even more pages than they do today.

Mr Andrew Love (Edmonton) (Lab/Co-op): The Prime Minister says that he understands the arguments on both sides of the Greece-euro divide, but does he understand the implications for the United Kingdom of the instability of a four-month negotiation? The difficulties that are being created for our economy and our ability to export make it critical that we do everything we can to resolve the situation. He mentioned the word “encourage”. Will he tell us how he can encourage a successful negotiation between the parties?

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The Prime Minister: Of course, not being in the euro and not being a creditor of Greece, we do not have as much say as countries that have lent vast amounts of money to Greece and that see that money at risk. There are areas where we can and do help. For instance, Treasury officials have helped the Greek authorities to modernise their tax system, so that they actually collect tax from people who live in Greece, and those officials should do so again.

Conor Burns (Bournemouth West) (Con): We appear to have emerged at a near consensus, albeit born of hindsight, that it is a very good thing that the United Kingdom is not in the eurozone. Has the Prime Minister taken the time to reflect that many of those who are issuing dire warnings about the consequences of renegotiation and trusting the British people in an in/out referendum are the very same people who advocated our immediate membership of the single currency? Will he undertake not to listen to them, as there is a chance that they are as mistaken today as they proved to be then?

The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend makes an important point. It was noticeable that the British Chambers of Commerce, which is one of the biggest business organisations in Britain, far from being against a renegotiation and a referendum, came out in favour of a renegotiation and a referendum. Since we announced the renegotiation and the referendum, investment from the rest of the world into Britain has not dried up and there has not been uncertainty; we have seen record amounts of investment from China, India and America into Britain—often more than into other European countries.

Nia Griffith (Llanelli) (Lab): Returning to the serious situation in Ukraine, the deadline of Thursday for the withdrawal of heavy artillery from the front line is fast approaching. I would be grateful if the Prime Minister gave his analysis of what progress is being made, told us whether he thinks the deadline will be met and said what plan of action he has if the deadline is not met.

The Prime Minister: Frankly, since the signing of the Minsk accords—so-called Minsk II—the progress has been very disappointing. The first thing that happened was the encircling, shelling and destruction of Debaltseve by massive numbers of Russian rockets, tanks and guns. That tells us all we need to know about the bona fides of the people we are dealing with. Having said that, I commend Angela Merkel for the great diplomatic efforts, and we should still, even now, be trying to get the parties to the Minsk agreement to deliver what they said they would, including the withdrawal of the heavy weaponry. We should use this moment to say to those in Europe who have been less certain about Russian action and sanctions, “Look what we are dealing with.” They must recognise that it is in all our interests to stick together and take a very tough approach.

Andrew Stephenson (Pendle) (Con): Does the Prime Minister agree that local communities and all public bodies need to work together and make a concerted effort to identify vulnerable young people to prevent

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another situation like that of the three girls who recently went to Syria, which is surely every parent’s worst nightmare?

The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Anyone who watched the mother of one of the young girls on television last night, saying that all she wanted was for her to come home, could not help but be moved by her testimony. Of course we need our police and border security to do everything they can to prevent people from travelling in such circumstances, but we also need schools, universities and colleges to put aside concerns about cultural sensitivities and such like, and ensure that they are doing everything they can to tackle people who are at risk of radicalisation. This problem is quite similar in some ways to that of forced marriage, where people have disappeared from schools in parts of the country where there has not been proper advertising and protection in the schools, and to the problem of female genital mutilation. It is happening on an enormous scale and that is why we need to take such action.

Clive Efford (Eltham) (Lab): Many people are working in our communities to try to prevent young people from becoming radicalised. I recently met a youth worker from my local Islamic centre who is concerned that the Prevent work he is doing may come to an end at the end of March, and he has not heard about any future funding. I support what the Prime Minister has said today, but when he next meets the Home Secretary will he ensure that organisations in our communities that are doing excellent work are given some security about future funding, so that they can continue doing it?

The Prime Minister: I will certainly look at what the hon. Gentleman has said, but from what I have seen, particularly after announcements made in the light of Woolwich, Prevent funding has increased and the money is there. As I said, we have tried to divide that money between the Prevent work, which includes a programme of channelling people who have been radicalised away from radicalisation, and a lot of community work that is about integration and supporting things such as the Big Iftar, and encouraging mosques and community centres to open themselves up and for others to come in. That has been a great success.

Julian Smith (Skipton and Ripon) (Con): Following the criticism over the weekend, does the Prime Minister agree that our intelligence and security services are doing the most amazing job in incredibly difficult times, and that we should pay tribute to every woman and man working in those services?

The Prime Minister: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving me the chance to say thank you to those people, because they are working round the clock to try to prevent plots against this country. They are having to prioritise whom they should be keeping the closest eye on—they have to make those judgments all the time and we cannot expect them to get it right every single time. What is so remarkable is how they do get it right, and even in the last three or four months they have prevented as many as three different plots, for instance to behead a

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police officer on British streets. We should pay tribute to those people and thank them for the amazing work they do.

Several hon. Members rose

Mr Speaker: Patience has its own reward. Mr Jim Shannon.

Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP): I have many friends and contacts in Libya who tell me that it is awash with firearms that are fuelling ISIL. What discussions has the Prime Minister had with the Libyan Government to prevent access to the weapon warehouse that is Libya at the moment?

The Prime Minister: The hon. Gentleman is right, and the preponderance of weapons in Libya, where there are more weapons than there are people, is part of the problem. This goes to the problem of there being so many different armed militias, which in turn goes to the problem of how to create a national Government of unity where the militias are disarmed, and either disband or effectively become part of the armed forces or the police and security of that country. Britain has put in a lot of effort, including trying to train some of the armed forces of that country to give them a central force and central state to start to enforce some order. The state of Libya is in such chaos at the moment that it is very difficult to do that work, and the first step must be a national unity Government.

Daniel Kawczynski (Shrewsbury and Atcham) (Con): We have all seen the terrible difficulties in Libya over many years, and there seems to be consensus that work on the national unity Government is a priority. What discussions did the Prime Minister have with fellow European leaders about Egyptian requests that there ought to be limited strikes against ISIS in Libya?

The Prime Minister: One can understand the need to tackle ISIL directly in Libya, but with the Egyptian Government we must ensure that we do not try to solve the problems of Libya by backing simply one faction that could form part of a national unity Government against other factions. If we do that, we are likely to create even more of a civil war in Libya. One of the keys is to work with the Egyptians and others in the middle east, and with the Americans, to try to bring everyone together—apart from, of course, those organisations involved in terrorism—into a national unity Government.

Henry Smith (Crawley) (Con): I commend this Government for initiating the feasibility study into the resettlement of the Chagos islands. While we are still net contributors to the EU, at the next European Council will my right hon. Friend seek European development funding to realise that resettlement of the British Indian Ocean Territory?

The Prime Minister: I thank my hon. Friend for that question—I think I am right in saying that a substantial number of Chagos islanders live in Crawley. This is the first Government to really sit down and think about what we could do to help, which is why we commissioned the resettlement studies. Those studies have been drawn up and the National Security Council will consider

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whether further steps could be taken. My hon. Friend’s idea of looking at European funding is intriguing, and I will consider it and get back to him.

Michael Ellis (Northampton North) (Con): There have been disturbing reports in the past 48 hours of threats to shopping centres in London, the United States and Canada. At the European Council, did my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister discuss working with local community leaders to help to prevent such attacks from happening in this country?

The Prime Minister: We discussed at the European Council the appalling attacks in Copenhagen and Paris. They had some similarities with the sorts of attacks put forward in the video by al-Shabaab, which again have some similarities with things that happened in Mumbai and elsewhere, where there were a number of attackers marauding with firearms and other weapons. Obviously, we take every such threat very seriously. The police are analysing that video.

What I would say has already happened in Britain is that, after Mumbai and intelligence linked to Mumbai, we held a series of meetings and other exercises to try to make sure that we are prepared to deal with those sorts of events. It is very difficult to plan, but in Britain, the counter-terrorism policing, the strength of our police services, the number of armed police officers, the ability of our special forces and others to come to assistance, and the work that the ambulance, the fire service and others can do in so-called “hot zones” where there are still weapons being fired all show that we have prepared, as much as we can, for the threats we undoubtedly face.

Richard Graham (Gloucester) (Con): As a former airline manager, I totally support the Prime Minister’s determination to get full access to airline passenger name records, which would be to the advantage of Governments in both preventing terrorist movements and protecting young and vulnerable UK nationals. Will my right hon. Friend say how long it will take to have an EU directive that is endorsed by all member Governments? Would it not be faster to have something domestically that we could implement at our own airports fairly soon?

The Prime Minister: There are quite a lot of steps we can take already with other countries, non-EU countries, where we can agree to the exchange of passenger name records. As I said, this is not just the names of people, but details of bank accounts and how they booked the ticket, in order to find potential signals of terrorist activity. It would be very frustrating if we could not agree it within the EU, but I am sure we will. What has happened in Copenhagen and Paris has, I think, made people realise just how important it is, but a lot of it will depend on the work being done by the European Parliament.

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Serious Crime Bill [Lords]

Consideration of Bill, as amended in the Committee.

Mr David Burrowes (Enfield, Southgate) (Con): On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con): On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: Order. I am saving up the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr Bone); it would be a pity to waste him at this early stage of our proceedings. We will come to him for his point of order, he can be assured of that. Before that, however, I have the following to say.

As the Government have not moved the programme motion, proceedings will be taken in the customary order on consideration: Government new clauses first, then other new clauses, and then amendments in the order they occur in the Bill. We will start as originally envisaged, with the group on child exploitation and so on. We will then take the group on other issues, and then there is, for consideration, the group on abortion. The selection list has been reissued, and the amendment paper has been reissued with the revised order. Proceedings on Report may continue until 9 pm, and Third Reading until 10 pm, under the earlier programme motion.

That is what I have got to say for now, but let us hear the point of order from Mr David Burrowes first.

Mr Burrowes: On a point of order, Mr Speaker. As the programme motion is not being moved, of which there was good notice, new clauses 1 and clause 25, which deal with the important issue of gender-selective abortion, have effectively been shunted to the end of proceedings. I understand fully, and the House understands fully, the importance of addressing child exploitation and protection, and how they are integral to this very important Bill. That needs proper debate and scrutiny. However, gender-selective abortion is also a matter of public interest. Concerns have been raised across the country, not least by the more than 100 Members of Parliament who have put their name to new clause 1. There is a concern that, unless there is great restraint from parliamentarians in the debate, we may not even get to the point of being able to move those new clauses.

Mr Speaker, you have championed the role of the Back Bencher. New clause 1 was tabled in the scintilla of time available between Committee and Report, and now we run the risk of not getting to this business before the end of our consideration. With respect, I wish to suggest a way out and to ask for your guidance, Mr Speaker. According to the selection paper, after we have considered child exploitation and protection, we will move on to “other issues”, including investigative powers, the publication of names, firearms offences, new psychoactive substances and money laundering measures. Could you also include under “other issues” the important other issue of gender-selective abortion? Otherwise, we will be left to rely on your customary guidance and urging of restraint across the House to ensure we get to the matter.

In conclusion, we are all concerned about the esteem in which Parliament is held. I put Parliament on notice that if we do not get to the issue of gender-selective

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abortion, the public will hold us in disrepute, and it will be a grave day for Parliament.

Helen Goodman (Bishop Auckland) (Lab): Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr Bone rose—

Mr Speaker: We shall come to the hon. Gentleman shortly—I have been saving him up, and I hope he is not going to disappoint me. I call Helen Goodman.

Helen Goodman: Mr Speaker, do you agree that had the House agreed with the Procedure Committee report on this problem of Report, this problem would not have arisen this afternoon?

Mr Speaker: That might well be so. I do not have the details of that report with me, but I think it only courteous and perhaps charitable to observe that the hon. Lady was for a period a distinguished ornament of that Committee, and it might well be that it was her own intellectual stimulation that led to the report in question. She is too modest and self-effacing to claim the credit directly, but she might appreciate my proffering it in her direction instead.

I will come back to Mr Burrowes’ point of order, but not before I have heard from Mr Peter Bone.

Mr Bone: I am interested to hear your response to my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, Southgate (Mr Burrowes), because I am also concerned about the amount of time being allowed for debate, so I will leave it like that.

Mr Speaker: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for the self-denying ordinance that he has exercised. I say two things to the hon. Member for Enfield, Southgate (Mr Burrowes). First, I had understood that he was going to ask me whether it would be in order, in the absence of a Minister moving the programme motion, for him to move it, and I had intended to say that no it would not be in order for him to do so, because he is not a Minister and had not signed the motion. However, as he did not raise the point, I will not make the point that I would have made if he had.

Secondly, the hon. Gentleman inquires into the possibility of eliding—if I can put it that way—consideration of the abortion new clauses into the “other issues” group. He has raised an extremely important point, but there is merit first in seeing what progress we make on the first group. I shall reflect on his point, which I take extremely seriously, over the next hour or so and then advise the House of my conclusion. I make him no promise, but I shall consider his suggestion very seriously. I hope that that is helpful.

New Clause 8

Child sexual exploitation

‘(1) The Sexual Offences Act 2003 is amended as set out in subsections (2) to (6).

(2) For the heading before section 47 substitute “Sexual exploitation of children”.

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(3) In section 48 (headed “Causing or inciting child prostitution or pornography”)—

(a) in the heading, for “child prostitution or pornography” substitute “sexual exploitation of a child”;

(b) in subsection (1)(a), for “to become a prostitute, or to be involved in pornography,” substitute “to be sexually exploited”.

(4) In section 49 (headed “Controlling a child prostitute or a child involved in pornography”)—

(a) in the heading, for “prostitute or a child involved in pornography” substitute “in relation to sexual exploitation”;

(b) in subsection (1)(a), for “prostitution or involvement in pornography” substitute “sexual exploitation”.

(5) In section 50 (headed “Arranging or facilitating child prostitution or pornography”)—

(a) in the heading, for “child prostitution or pornography” substitute “sexual exploitation of a child”;

(b) in subsection (1)(a), for “prostitution or involvement in pornography” substitute “sexual exploitation”.

(6) In section 51 (interpretation of sections 48 to 50)—

(a) omit subsection (1);

(b) for subsection (2) substitute—

“(2) For the purposes of sections 48 to 50, a person (B) is sexually exploited if—

(a) on at least one occasion and whether or not compelled to do so, B offers or provides sexual services to another person in return for payment or a promise of payment to B or a third person, or

(b) an indecent image of B is recorded;

and “sexual exploitation” is to be interpreted accordingly.”

(7) In section 1 of the Street Offences Act 1959 (loitering or soliciting for purposes of prostitution), in subsection (1), after “person” insert “aged 18 or over”.” —(Mr Buckland.)

This New Clause replaces the references to child prostitution and pornography in sections 48 to 51 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 with references to the sexual exploitation of children (without altering the substance of the relevant offences), and also restricts to adults the offence of loitering or soliciting for the purposes of prostitution.

Brought up, and read the First time.

5.9 pm

The Solicitor-General (Mr Robert Buckland): I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr Speaker: With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment (a) to new clause 8, leave out

“offers or provides sexual services to”

and insert

“prepares to engage in, or engages in, sexual activity with”.

Government new clause 9—Duty to notify police of female genital mutilation.

Government new clause 10—Guidance about female genital mutilation.

New clause 2—Official Secrets Act 1989 (additional defence)—

‘(1) The Official Secrets Act 1989 is amended as follows—

(2) After section 8, insert—

“(8A) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under any provision of this Act to prove that he knew, or had reasonable cause to believe, that the information, document or article disclosed was—

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(a) germane to an official investigation of, or inquiry into, historic child abuse, and

(b) provided only to an officer of such an investigation or inquiry.”’

New clause 3—Child sexual exploitation—

‘(1) In section 1(1) of the Street Offences Act 1059 (Loitering or soliciting for purposes of prostitution), after “female)”, insert “, aged 18 or over,”.

(2) The Sexual Offences Act 2003 is amended as follows.

(3) In section 48 (Causing or inciting child prostitution or pornography)—

(a) in the title of the section, for “prostitution” substitute “sexual exploitation”; and

(b) in subsection (1)(a), for “become a prostitute” substitute “be sexually exploited”.

(4) In section 49 (Controlling a child prostitute or a child involved in pornography)—

(a) in the title of the section, for “child prostitute” substitute “sexually exploited child”; and

(b) in subsection (1)(a), for “prostitution” substitute “sexual exploitation”.

(5) In section 50 (Arranging or facilitating child prostitution or pornography)—

(a) in the title of the section, for “child prostitution or pornography” substitute “the sexual exploitation of a child or sexual images of children”; and

(b) in subsection (1)(a), for “prostitution” substitute “sexual exploitation”.

(6) In section 51 (Sections 48 to 50: interpretation), in subsection (2), for “prostitute” substitute “sexually exploited child”; for “prostitution” substitute “sexual exploitation”.

(7) References in any Act, Regulation, Order or other legislative instrument to the sections and titles mentioned in this section shall be interpreted as referring to the sections and titles as amended by this section.”

New clause 11—Child protection: 16 and 17 year olds living with their families—

‘(1) The Children’s Act 1933 is amended as follows.

(2) After section 1 insert—

“1A Cruelty to a person aged sixteen or seventeen

(1) If any person A, who has attained the age of eighteen years and is personally connected to a child B aged sixteen or seventeen, wilfully assaults, ill-treats (whether physically or psychologically), neglects, abandons, or exposes him, or causes or procures for him to be assaulted, ill-treated (whether physically or psychologically), neglected, abandoned, or exposed, in a manner likely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to health (including injury to or loss of sight, or hearing, or limb, or organ of the body and whether the injury is of physical or psychological nature), that person shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be liable—

(a) on conviction or indictment, to a fine or alternatively, or in addition thereto, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding 10 years;

(b) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £400 pounds, or alternatively, or in addition thereto, to imprisonment not exceeding six months.

(2) For the purposes of this section—

(a) A and B are considered to be personally connected if at the time of the offence they live together, and

(i) A has parental responsibility for B

(ii) A is a relative of B

(iii) A is or has been married or civil partner to B’s parent.

(b) A shall be deemed to have neglected B in a manner likely to cause injury to his health if he has failed to provide adequate food, clothing, medical aid or lodging for him or if, having been unable otherwise to

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provide such food, clothing, medical aid or lodging, he has failed to take steps to procure it to be provided to B.

(3) A person may be convicted of an offence under this section—

(a) notwithstanding that actual suffering or injury to health, or the likelihood of actual suffering or injury to health, was obviated by the action of another person;

(b) notwithstanding the death of B.

(4) In subsection (2)—

“parental responsibility” has the same meaning as in the Children Act 1989;

“relative” has the meaning given by section 63(1) of the Family Law Act 1996”.

New clause 15—Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation Warning Notices and Orders (EWNs and EWOs)—

In the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, after section 2A (offence of Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation) insert—

“2B Power to issue an Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation warning notice

(1) A member of a police force not below the rank of superintendent (“the authorising officer”) may issue an Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation warning notice (an “EWN”) under this section.

(2) An EWN may be issued to a person (“A”) who is aged 18 or over if the authorising officer has reasonable grounds for believing that A has been encouraging the genital mutilation of women and girls as defined in section 1.

(3) Before issuing an EWN, the authorising officer must, in particular, consider any representations made by A as to the issuing of the EWN.

(4) The authorising officer must take reasonable steps to obtain the representations mentioned in subsection (3).

(5) An EWN must prohibit A from encouraging the genital mutilation of women and girls.

2C Contents and service of an Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation warning notice

‘(1) An EWN must state—

(a) the grounds on which it has been issued;

(b) that a constable may arrest A without warrant if the constable has reasonable grounds for believing that A is in breach of the EWN;

(c) that an application for an Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation warning order (an “EWO”) under section (application for an EWO) shall be heard within 48 hours of the time of service of the EWN and notice time and place of the hearing will be given to A, and shall state that the EWN continues in effect until that application has been determined.

(2) An EWN must be in writing and must be served on A personally by a constable.

(3) On serving A with an EWN, the constable must ask A for an address for the purposes of being given notice of the hearing of the application for the Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation warning order.

2D Breach of an Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation warning notice

‘(1) A person arrested by virtue of section (contents and service of an EWN) for a breach of an EWN shall be held in custody and brought before the magistrates’ court which will hear the application for the EWO under (application for an EWO)—

(a) before the end of the period of 24 hours beginning with the time of the arrest; or

(b) if earlier, at the hearing of that application.

(2) If the person is brought before the court by virtue of subsection (1)(a), the court may remand the person.

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(3) If the court adjourns the hearing of the application by virtue of subsection 6(8), the court may remand the person.

(4) In calculating when the period of 24 hours mentioned in subsection (1)(a) ends, Christmas Day, Good Friday, any Sunday and any day which is a bank holiday in England and Wales under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 are to be disregarded.

2E Application for an Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation warning order

‘(1) If an EWN has been issued, a constable must apply for an Encouragement of Female Genital mutilation warning order (an “EWO”).

(2) The application must be made by complaint to a magistrates’ court.

(3) The application must be heard by the magistrates’ court no later than 48 hours after the EWN was served pursuant to section (contents and service of an EWN).

(4) In calculating when the period of 48 hours mentioned in subsection (3) ends, Christmas Day, Good Friday, any Sunday and any day which is a bank holiday in England and Wales under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 are to be disregarded.

(5) Notice of the time and place of the hearing of the application must be given to A.

(6) The notice is deemed given if it has been left at the address given by A under section 4(3).

(7) If the notice has not been given because no address was given by A under section 4(3), the court may hear the application for the EWO if the court is satisfied that the constable applying for the EWO has made reasonable efforts to give A the notice.

(8) The magistrates’ court may adjourn the hearing of the application.

(9) If the court adjourns the hearing, the EWN continues in effect until the application has been determined.

(10) On the hearing of an application for an EWO, section 97 of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980 (summons to witness and warrant for his arrest) does not apply in relation to a person for whose protection the EWO would be made, except where the person has given oral or written evidence at the hearing.

2F Conditions for and contents of an Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation warning order (EWO)

‘(1) The court may make an EWO if two conditions are met.

(2) The first condition is that the court is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the conditions set out in section 3(2) are met.

(3) The second condition is that the court is satisfied that making the EWO is necessary to protect women and girls from harm as a result of the encouragement of FGM by A.

(4) An EWO must state that a constable may arrest A without warrant if the constable has reasonable grounds for believing that A is in breach of the EWO.

(5) An EWO may be in force for—

(a) no fewer than 14 days beginning with the day on which it is made; and

(b) up to a maximum of seven years from that date.

(6) An EWO must state the period for which it is to be in force.

2G Breach of an Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation warning order

‘(1) A person arrested by virtue of section (conditions for and contents of an EWO) for a breach of an EWO must be held in custody and brought before a magistrates’ court within the period of 24 hours beginning with the time of the arrest.

(2) If the matter is not disposed of when the person is brought before the court, the court may remand the person.

(3) In calculating when the period of 24 hours mentioned in subsection (1) ends, Christmas Day, Good Friday, any Sunday and any day which is a bank holiday in England and Wales under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 are to be disregarded.

23 Feb 2015 : Column 56

2H Further provision about remand

‘(1) This section applies for the purposes of the remand of a person by a magistrates’ court under section (Breach of an EWN) or (Breach of an EWO).

(2) In the application of section 128(6) of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980 for those purposes, the reference to the “other party” is to be read—

(a) in the case of a remand prior to the hearing of an application for an EWO, as a reference to the authorising officer; and

(b) in any other case, as a reference to the constable who applied for the EWO.

(3) If the court has reason to suspect that a medical report will be required, the power to remand a person may be exercised for the purpose of enabling a medical examination to take place and a report to be made.

(4) If the person is remanded in custody for that purpose, the adjournment may not be for more than three weeks at a time.

(5) If the person is remanded on bail for that purpose, the adjournment may not be for more than four weeks at a time.

(6) If the court has reason to suspect that the person is suffering from a mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983, the court has the same power to make an order under section 35 of that Act (remand to hospital for medical report) as it has under that section in the case of an accused person (within the meaning of that section).

(7) The court may, when remanding the person on bail, require the person to comply before release on bail or later, with such requirements as appear to the court to be necessary to secure that the person does not interfere with witnesses or otherwise obstruct the course of justice.

2I Guidance

‘(1) The Secretary of State may issue guidance relating to the exercise by a constable of functions under section (Power to issue an EWN).

(2) A constable must have regard to any guidance issued under subsection (1) when exercising a function to which the guidance relates.

(3) Before issuing guidance under this section, the Secretary of State must consult—

(a) the Association of Chief Police Officers;

(b) the National Crime Agency; and

(c) such other persons as the Secretary of State thinks fit.”

New clause 16—Offence of encouragement of female genital mutilation

‘(1) The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 is amended as follows:

(2) After section 2 (offence of assisting a girl to mutilate her own genitalia) insert—

“(2A) Offence of encouragement of female genital mutilation—

(a) a person is guilty of an offence of encouragement of female genital mutilation if he makes a statement that is likely to be understood by some or all of the members of the public to whom it is published as a direct or indirect encouragement or other inducement to them to mutilate the genitalia of a girl;

(b) A person commits an offence if—

(i) he publishes a statement to which this section applies or causes another to publish such a statement; and

(ii) at the time he publishes it or causes it to be published, he—

(a) intends members of the public to be directly or indirectly encouraged or otherwise induced by the statement to mutilate the genitalia of a girl; or

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(b) is reckless as to whether members of the public will be directly or indirectly encouraged or otherwise induced by the statement to mutilate the genitalia of a girl.””

New clause 17—Mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse

‘(1) A person commits an offence if—

(a) he is involved in the provision of regulated activity as defined by section 5 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 for which he is paid;

(b) he is a provider of regulated activity as defined by section 6 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006;

(c) he becomes aware that a child has been harmed in connection to the regulated activity; and

(d) he does not inform a relevant authority of this harm.

(2) A person does not commit an offence under this section if—

(a) he can demonstrate he acted in the best interests of the child, or

(b) he complied with relevant professional guidelines or institutional guidelines for the reporting of abuse as he believed them to be, complying with institutional guidelines for the reporting of abuse can include informing another individual with relevant safeguarding responsibilities.

(3) In this section “harm” means conduct which amounts to one of the following offences—

(a) cruelty to and neglect of children;

(b) cruelty to children/young persons;

(c) child abduction;

(d) rape of a female child under 16;

(e) rape of a female child under 13;

(f) rape of a male child under 16;

(g) rape of a male child under 13;

(h) sexual assault on a male child under 13;

(i) sexual assault on a female child under 13;

(j) sexual activity involving a child under 13;

(k) sexual activity involving a child under 16;

(l) sexual exploitation of children;

(m) abuse of position of trust of a sexual nature; and

(n) sexual grooming.

(4) The Secretary of State may, by way of regulation, make guidance as to the interpretation of subsection (2) or amend subsection (3).

(5) Any regulations made under subsection (4) must be subject to an affirmative procedure of both Houses of Parliament.

(6) In this section “relevant authority” means—

(a) the local authority with safeguarding authorities;

(b) the local police force; and

(c) the Disclosure and Barring Service.

(7) A person guilty of an offence under this Part of this Act shall be liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both such imprisonment and fine;

(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.”

New clause 19—Child abduction warning notice

In the Child Abduction Act 1984, after section 2 (offence of abduction of child by other person) insert—

“2A Power to issue a child abduction warning notice

(1) A member of a police force not below the rank of superintendent (“the authorising officer”) may issue a child abduction warning notice (“a CAWN”) under this section.

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(2) A CAWN may be issued to a person (“A”) aged 18 years or over if the authorising officer has reasonable grounds for believing that—

(a) A has without lawful authority or reasonable excuse been found in the company of a child (“C”); and

(b) C is reported missing and is found on two or more occasions to be in the company of A; or

(c) there is reason to suspect that C‘s behaviour is, by reason of association with the defendant, giving significant cause for concern.

(3) Before issuing a CAWN, the authorising officer must, in particular, take reasonable steps to gather and consider—

(a) representations made by the person with lawful authority for C; and

(b) representations made by A as to the issuing of the CAWN.

(4) A CAWN must prohibit A from being in the company of C.

2B Contents and service of a child abduction warning notice

‘(1) A CAWN must state—

(a) the grounds on which it has been issued;

(b) that a constable may arrest A without warrant if the constable has reasonable grounds for believing that A is in breach of the CAWN;

(c) that an application for a child abduction warning order under section 2D will be heard within 48 hours of the time of service of the CAWN and a notice of the hearing will be given to A;

(d) that the CAWN continues in effect until that application has been determined; and

(e) the provisions that a magistrates’ court may include in a child abduction warning order (CAWO) under sections 2D and 2E.

(2) A CAWN must be in writing and must be served on A personally by a constable.

(3) On serving A with a CAWN, the constable must ask A for an address for the purposes of being given the notice of the hearing of the application for the child abduction warning order.

2C Breach of a child abduction warning notice

‘(1) A person arrested by virtue of section 2B(1)(b) for a breach of a CAWN must be held in custody and brought before the magistrates’ court which will hear the application for a child abduction warning order (CAWO) under sections 2D and 2E—

(a) before the end of the period of 24 hours beginning with the time of the arrest; or

(b) if earlier, at the hearing of that application.

(2) If the person is brought before the court by virtue of subsection (1)(a), the court may remand the person.

(3) If the court adjourns the hearing of the application by virtue of subsection 2D(8), the court may remand the person.

(4) In calculating when the period of 24 hours mentioned in subsection (1)(a) of this section ends, Christmas Day, Good Friday, any Sunday and any day which is a bank holiday in England and Wales under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 are to be disregarded.

2D Application for a child abduction warning order

‘(1) If a CAWN has been issued, a constable must apply for a child abduction warning order (“a CAWO”).

(2) The application must be made by complaint to a magistrates’ court.

(3) The application must be heard by the magistrates’ court no later than 48 hours after the CAWN was served pursuant to section 2B(2).

(4) In calculating when the period of 48 hours mentioned in subsection (3) of this section ends, Christmas Day, Good Friday, any Sunday and any day which is a bank holiday in England and Wales under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 are to be disregarded.

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(5) A notice of the hearing of the application must be given to A.

(6) The notice is deemed given if it has been left at the address given by A under section 2B(3).

(7) But if the notice has not been given because no address was given by A under section 2B(3), the court may hear the application for the CAWO if the court is satisfied that the constable applying for the CAWO has made reasonable efforts to give A the notice.

(8) The magistrates’ court may adjourn the hearing of the application.

(9) If the court adjourns the hearing, the CAWN continues in effect until the application has been determined.

(10) On the hearing of an application for a CAWO, section 97 of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980 (summons to witness and warrant for his arrest) does not apply in relation to a person for whose protection the CAWO would be made, except where the person has given oral or written evidence at the hearing.

2E Conditions for and contents of a child abduction warning order

‘(1) The court may make a CAWO if two conditions are met.

(2) The first condition is that the court is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that one or more of the criteria in section 2A(2)(a)-(c) are satisfied.

(3) The second condition is that the court thinks that making the CAWO is necessary to protect C from harm as a result of association with A.

(4) A CAWO must state that a constable may arrest A without warrant if the constable has reasonable grounds for believing A is in breach of the CAWO.

(5) A CAWO may be in force for—

(a) no fewer than 14 days beginning with the day on which it is made; and

(b) until the date of the 16th birthday of C.

(6) A CAWO must state the period for which it is to be in force.

2F Breach of a child abduction warning order

‘(1) A person arrested by virtue of section 2E(4) for a breach of a CAWO must be held in custody and brought before a magistrates’ court within the period of 24 hours beginning with the time of the arrest.

(2) If the matter is not disposed of when the person is brought before the court, the court may remand the person.

(3) In calculating when the period of 24 hours mentioned in subsection (1) ends, Christmas Day, Good Friday, any Sunday and any day which is a bank holiday in England and Wales under the Banking and Financial. Dealings Act 1971 are to be disregarded.

2G Further provision about remand

‘(1) This section applies for the purposes of the remand of a person by a magistrates’ court under section 2C(2) or (3) or 2F(2).

(2) In the application of section 128(6) of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980 for those purposes, the reference to the “other party” is to be read—

(a) in the case of a remand prior to the hearing of an application for a CAWO, as a reference to the authorising officer; and

(b) in any other case, as a reference to the constable who applied for the CAWO.

(3) If the court has reason to suspect that a medical report will be required, the power to remand a person may be exercised for the purpose of enabling a medical examination to take place and a report to be made.

(4) If the person is remanded in custody for that purpose, the adjournment may not be for more than three weeks at a time.

(5) If the person is remanded on bail for that purpose, the adjournment may not be for more than four weeks at a time.

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(6) If the court has reason to suspect that the person is suffering from a mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983, the court has the same power to make an order under section 35 of that Act (remand to hospital for medical report) as it has under that section in the case of an accused person (within the meaning of that section).

(7) The court may, when remanding the person on bail, require the person to comply before release on bail or later, with such requirements as appear to the court to be necessary to secure that the person does not interfere with witnesses or otherwise obstruct the course of justice.

2H Guidance

‘(1) The Secretary of State may issue guidance relating to the exercise by a constable of functions under sections 2A to 2F.

(2) The guidance must set out the behaviours associated with “giving significant cause for concern”, including, in particular, behaviours associated with giving cause for concern of sexual exploitation or grooming.

(3) A constable must have regard to any guidance issued under subsection (1) when exercising a function to which the guidance relates.

(4) Before issuing guidance under this section, the Secretary of State must consult—

(a) the Association of Chief Police Officers;

(b) the National Crime Agency; and

(c) such other persons as the Secretary of State thinks fit.””

This amendment establishes child abduction warning notices (CAWNs) on a statutory basis, addressing concerns raised in the House of Lords on the issue, by introducing a two-stage process providing judicial oversight, without compromising the ability of the police to issue a CAWN without delay. The proposed process is similar to that in place for Domestic Violence Prevention Notices/Domestic Violence Prevention Orders (DVPN/DVPO).

New clause 22—Offence of child exploitation

‘(1) A person commits an offence if they exploit a child.

(2) A child may be in a situation of exploitation whether or not—

(a) escape from the situation is practically possible for the child; or

(b) the child has attempted to escape from the situation.

(3) The consent or apparent consent of the child to the exploitation is irrelevant.

(4) “Child Exploitation” includes but is not limited to, the exploitation of the prostitute of others or other forms of sexual exploitation; the exploitation of labour or services including begging or practices similar to slavery, servitude or forced or compulsory labour; the exploitation of or for criminal activities including benefit fraud; the removal of organs; forced or servile marriage or enforced surrogacy; exploitation for unlawful adoption; and exploitation by enforced drugs smuggling, manufacture, production or distribution.

(5) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both;

(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.”

New clause 26—Automatic Special Measures: controlling or coercive behaviour cases

The Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 is amended as follows—

In section 17, after “offence” insert “an offence of controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family setting contrary to section 73 of the Serious Crime Act 2015.””

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New clause 27—Offence of abduction of child by other person

‘(1) In section 2 of the Child Abduction Act 1984, after subsection (1), insert—

“(1A) Subject to subsection (3)(a)-(c), a person, other than one mentioned in subsection (2), commits an offence if, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, he takes or detains a child between the ages of sixteen and eighteen—

(a) so as to remove him from the lawful control of any person having lawful control of the child; or

(b) so as to keep him out of the lawful control of any person entitled to lawful control of the child.”

(2) In section 2(3) of the Child Abduction Act 1984, for paragraph (b) substitute—

“(b) that, at the time of the alleged offence under subsection 2(1), he believed that the child had attained the age of sixteen,

(bA) that, at the time of the alleged offence under subsection 2(2), he believed the child had attained the age of eighteen,””

Amendment 20, in clause 72, page 63, line 27, leave out “the” and insert “a risk of”.

Amendment 21, in clause 73, page 78, line 22, leave out

“he or she was acting”

and insert

“their behaviour was necessary in order to act, and”.

Amendment 22, page 78, line 23, in clause 73, at end insert—

“(aa) a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think that A’s behaviour was necessary in order to act in B’s best interests.”

Government amendments 2 to 10.

Amendment 33, in schedule 4, page 117, line 15, at end insert—

“59A In Schedule 2 of that Act (sexual offences to which provisions about extra territoriality application apply) in paragraph 1(d), insert—

“(iii) section 68 (possession of paedophile manual) of the Serious Crime Act 2015.””

Provisions in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 enable certain child abuse offences committed outside the UK to be prosecuted in England and Wales in some circumstances. This amendment enables these extra-territorial provisions to apply to the new offence of possession of any item that contains advice or guidance about abusing children sexually contained in Clause 68 of this Bill.

Government amendments 11 to 19.

The Solicitor-General: I am conscious that a number of right hon. and hon. Members wish to speak, so I will keep my opening remarks as brief as possible. I am doubly conscious of the need to ensure that, as has been mentioned, we have meaningful debates on other groups of amendments.

New clause 8 responds to the compelling case made in Committee by the hon. Member for Stockport (Ann Coffey), to whom I am grateful, that we should remove from the statute book references to the phrase “child prostitution” and limit the scope of the offence of loitering or soliciting for the purposes of prostitution, so that it applies only to adults. As I made clear in Committee, children who are sexually exploited, whether for financial gain or other reasons, should not be referred to as prostitutes. They should be regarded as victims.

New clause 8 will have substantially the same effect as the hon. Lady’s new clause 3, and in one important respect it goes even further. As well as replacing the

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anachronistic references to “child prostitute” and “child prostitution” in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, the new clause will remove references to “child pornography”, to which similar considerations apply.

Ann Coffey (Stockport) (Lab): I thank the Solicitor-General and the Government for tabling new clause 8. It will make a big difference to the language we use when talking about children who are sexually exploited. I know that victims of child exploitation are pleased that the new clause has been introduced, so I thank the Government on their behalf as well.

The Solicitor-General: I am extremely grateful to the hon. Lady, and I pay tribute to her for the work that she has done, most recently in the report that she prepared about child sexual exploitation in Greater Manchester.

New clause 9 will require persons working in regulated professions to notify the police if they discover in the course of their work that an act of female genital mutilation appears to have been carried out on a girl under the age of 18. The new duty will help to ensure that professionals are clear about their responsibilities when they encounter cases of FGM in under-18s, and that those cases are reported to the police, thereby supporting investigations.

The consultation on what a mandatory reporting duty should look like closed on 12 January, and we received nearly 150 responses, including from health care professionals, education professionals, the police, charities and members of the public. We have considered those responses carefully, which is reflected in our approach to the new clause.

The new duty will require regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales to report known cases of FGM to the police. Depending on the specifics of the case, a report to the police will not necessarily trigger a criminal investigation immediately. When a report is made, the police will work with the relevant agencies to determine the most appropriate course of action, which may include referral to medical experts for diagnosis of whether FGM has taken place. That is important, because we want to reassure those involved in the detection and exposure of this appalling child abuse that although prosecution and criminal investigation are important, they are not the only means that we have to deal with this scourge.

Sir William Cash (Stone) (Con): My hon. and learned Friend will understand that new clause 9 deals only with circumstances in which FGM appears to have been carried out, not with those in which there is a risk of it being carried out, to which I shall refer later.

The Solicitor-General: I look forward to my hon. Friend’s contribution and will respond appropriately when I have heard his full argument.

We recognise that some individuals captured by the new duty may be less likely than others to encounter cases of FGM. The duty will apply only to cases identified in the course of an individual’s professional duties. There will be no new requirement for professionals to look for visual evidence, and we do not expect them to do so.

Where professionals fail to comply with the duty, it will be dealt with in accordance with existing disciplinary procedures. That is in line with the approach favoured

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by the vast majority of respondents to the consultation and will ensure that appropriate sanctions are imposed in accordance with the circumstances of an individual case. The Government expect employers and the professional regulators to pay due regard to the seriousness of breaches of the new duty.

New clause 10 will confer on the Secretary of State a power to issue guidance on FGM to relevant individuals in England and Wales, and will require them to have regard to it. That guidance will take the form of updated multi-agency guidelines, which will explicitly capture good safeguarding practice, including for non-regulated practitioners. In addition, the existing frameworks for the purpose of dealing with child abuse will, of course, continue to support appropriate safeguarding responses.

5.15 pm

We know that, in the past, some professionals feared that addressing certain harmful cultural practices would result in their being labelled politically insensitive. We also want to increase the number of referrals to the police to support investigations of FGM, in order to deter perpetrators and thus prevent this appalling crime from being committed in the first place. We believe that, together with the Government’s wider work to tackle FGM and alongside the introduction of statutory multi-agency guidelines on FGM, the new mandatory reporting duty will allow those changes to happen.

Sir William Cash: I wish only to repeat, in a sense, what I have already said, namely that this measure will not, in itself, deal with the problem of girls who are at risk.

The Solicitor-General: My hon. Friend has made his point again. We may well have to differ on the issue of the threshold with which his amendment deals, but I will outline my arguments when I have heard all that he has to say.

Amendment 10 relates to the new offence of sexual communication with a child, which was added to the Bill in Committee. While there was cross-party support for the new offence in Committee, there was some debate about whether it should be possible for a prosecution to be mounted in England and Wales in respect of conduct engaged in abroad—that is, whether such conduct should be subject to extraterritorial jurisdiction.

Sir Paul Beresford (Mole Valley) (Con): Below amendment 10—which, obviously, I support—on the amendment paper is my amendment 33. My hon. and learned Friend will recall the discussion that we had in Committee. My amendment contains essentially the same wording as before, applying extraterritorial jurisdiction to the paedophile manual. Will he comment on that now?

The Solicitor-General: I thank my hon. Friend for the work that he has done in ensuring that extraterritorial jurisdiction has been applied to a range of sexual offences. In a nutshell, our view is that the case for applying extraterritorial jurisdiction to the possession of paedophile manuals has not been made out. We do not expect it to be generally applicable to that type of offence. We think

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it far more relevant to an offence of communication, given that communications no longer respect national borders, but can take place throughout the world through the internet and social media.

I was explaining the context in which we considered the issue of extraterritorial jurisdiction. It was in the light of speeches made by my hon. Friend the Member for Mole Valley (Sir Paul Beresford) and the hon. Member for Feltham and Heston (Seema Malhotra) that we reconsidered the issue, and concluded that it should be extended to the offence of sexual communication. Amendment 10 gives effect to that.

I hope that the House will welcome these important amendments. I look forward to hearing from other Members who have tabled amendments in this group, and I will respond to them as best I can when I wind up the debate.

Sir Edward Garnier (Harborough) (Con): During our debates on the Bill, I have been drawing to Ministers’ attention the exploitation of adults—not elderly adults who cannot help themselves through old age, but young adults—by quacks and bogus counsellors. I rather hoped that the Solicitor-General and other members of the Government would address that issue. I see that the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Staffordshire Moorlands (Karen Bradley), is present. She has experienced the distinct displeasure of having to listen to me going on about this, but I will continue to go on about it until a decision is made. Will the Solicitor-General update me on the Government’s thinking about the exploitation of vulnerable adults who are brainwashed by those quacks and bogus counsellors, to their emotional, psychological and financial disadvantage?

The Solicitor-General: I understand that the Government are still considering that issue. The definition of “vulnerable” may, of course, be something of a vexed question. It has tended to apply to adults with learning difficulties, but I understand my hon. and learned Friend to be referring to it in the wider context in which people are brainwashed or duped by cults and other organisations. It is not a straightforward issue, as I know he understands, but the Government are giving consideration to it, so I am grateful to him for raising it.

With those remarks, I will draw my speech to a close.

Mr Speaker: Well, I will not say the occurrence was unprecedented, but a lawyer finishing his speech earlier than expected is certainly a rarity.

Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) (Lab): I am very well aware of the pressure in respect of today’s business, and I know that many right hon. and hon. Members have signed amendments that they want to debate later. I will of course attempt to keep my remarks as succinct as possible, but we are dealing with a very wide-ranging group of amendments on child protection issues, ranging from FGM to mandatory reporting to a new offence of child exploitation, so I do not think I will be able to match the Minister’s brevity in setting out the Government amendments. I will do my best, but it is important to recognise that this is an important grouping that needs to be fully debated.

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I shall deal first with Government new clause 8 and Labour amendment (a), new clause 3 tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Stockport (Ann Coffey), and new clause 22, dealing with a new offence of child exploitation and tabled by the Labour Front Bench. I certainly welcome what the Government are trying to do with new clause 8, and I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for her work on this issue which has led to it going high up the agenda. Her report on child sexual exploitation highlighted the particular issue that children and young adults were being ignored or seen as the problem or even the instigator, when the truth was that they were being abused. One of the recommendations of the report was that our legislation needed to reflect the vulnerabilities of children and the fact that children cannot consent to being abused. A proposed step towards achieving this was to remove the terms “child prostitute” or “child pornography” from legislation to demonstrate that any children taking part in these sexual acts were not instigators and consenting participants, but were being abused. I am very pleased that my hon. Friend is in her place, and she has already paid tribute to the Minister for tabling the new clause. It is very helpful, but I want to highlight some issues relating to it, which is why I have tabled amendment (a).

In particular, I have concerns about the definition of child sexual exploitation, which is defined by new clause 8 as a situation where a child

“offers or provides sexual services”

to an adult. Let us be clear: this is about abused children. It is about a child being abused. They are not providing sexual services to adults; they are being abused and exploited, and our legislation should reflect the real nature of that relationship. Indeed, the purpose of the new clause is to ensure that the legislation reflects the fact that those subject to exploitation are victims, not instigators. I do not think moving from the term “child prostitute” to children as providers of sexual services is correct, and amendment (a) would correct that by moving to a definition of child sexual exploitation where a child engages in sexual activity with an adult. We would move away from the concept of the child as the provider or instigator of sexual activity. The term “sexual activity” is used extensively in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, so adopting amendment (a) would mean we have consistent and well-established terminology which will make legislation easier to apply. I hope the Minister will reflect on that and consider this amendment.

I would also like to raise with the Minister the wider consequences of new clause 8 in improving our understanding of child sexual exploitation and our response to it.

We will now have an offence of child sexual exploitation that will cover situations of child exploitation involving payment or photography, but those are just some of the examples of exploitation. I also have real concerns about the ancillary offences under sections 48 to 50 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. We will now have offences of arranging or facilitating sexual exploitation of a child, of controlling a child in relation to sexual exploitation and of causing or inciting sexual exploitation of a child, but none of those offences covers all child sexual exploitation. They provide only for child sexual exploitation involving payment or photography.

I want to put to the Minister the example of a scenario in which control is exerted through threats, intimidation or coercion, or in which a child is plied

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with drugs or alcohol. We should recognise that those are all forms of child sexual exploitation. However, the Government’s approach is to have an offence of child sexual exploitation involving payment or photography. Other forms of exploitation not covered by that specific offence would therefore need to be prosecuted under section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act for the general offence of arranging or facilitating commission of a child sex offence. That is a complicated offence to establish, however, because it relies on proving the commission of another sexual offence under the terms of the Act. In 2012, the latest year for which I have managed to find figures, there were just 32 convictions for that particular offence, and there have been only 130 convictions in five years. There is therefore a problem with the legislation: it is not working as effectively as we would all like it to.

That is why the Opposition have tabled new clause 22, which would create a specific offence of child exploitation for the first time. There has been a lot of comment about such an offence being put on the statute book. I have heard people saying that it could criminalise a parent for getting their teenage son or daughter to do the washing up, for example, because that could count as child exploitation. However, the country’s leading expert in this area, Peter Carter QC, says that to use that kind of argument is to

“miss the significance of the word ‘exploitation’”.

The exploitation of children is, in and of itself, a serious matter that should be recognised in legislation. New clause 22 covers all forms of exploitation, from children being forced into begging or into working on cannabis farms to young girls being controlled by men and forced to submit to their sexual advances and abuse. It recognises that exploitation involves a wide spectrum, and the sentencing guidelines would reflect the fact that some forms of exploitation are more serious than others. Crucially, it would recognise that the exploitation of children is an offence in and of itself.

The new clause is about asserting the right of the child to a life free from exploitation. It is about saying that we will not accept the exploitation of children, just as we will not accept their abuse or their neglect. It would address some of the many problems that are preventing prosecutions under the Sexual Offences Act by moving from a situation in which we look at the commission of individual offences to one in which we look at people who control, manipulate and coerce children for their own ends. It would allow the police to step in where they could see an adult using controlling and coercive behaviour towards a vulnerable child, forcing them into situations involving sexual abuse, drugs, crime or forced labour.

Many prosecutions focus on particular criminal incidents, such as rape or sexual assault, but for victims of sexual exploitation, such incidents might be difficult to separate from the multiple assaults that they have endured. Such prosecutions might not give a true representation of the abuse that had been suffered. One young person has said:

“I was pressurised to go to court. There needs to be a sexual exploitation law. My charge was for rape, this was the wrong charge. So many times it happened.”

Cases often do not get prosecuted because the young person is considered an unreliable witness. That could be because she was returning to perpetrators and found

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it difficult to break the contact with them. So practitioners say that the effects of exploitation as a result of duration of relationships, coercion and controlling behaviour are like the Stockholm syndrome, with which we are all familiar, but that is not being recognised in the current drafting of offences, because they all focus on separate counts of rape or sexual assault.

Separate exploitation offences with a focus on children will also enable the prosecution of cases where current legislation does not offer equal protection to all children under the age of 18. For example, the Sexual Offences Act 2003 establishes the age of consent as 16, and children aged 16 and 17 are afforded the additional protection of the Act only if the person who commits the sexual offence is a person in a position of trust in relation to them. Yet those in that age group are likely to be victims of sexual exploitation. The Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England report on sexual exploitation by groups and gangs estimated that out of 16,500 children and young people who are experiencing or are at risk of child sexual exploitation 28% were aged 16 and 16% were aged 17.

5.30 pm

Our approach would also enable prosecutions in respect of those children exploited in the course of human trafficking. Over the past two years, the police have identified more than 1,000 child victims of human trafficking, but when I asked the Government how many prosecutions there have been they could not identify a single case where the victim was a child. The total number of prosecutions for all the human trafficking offences collated together was just 41 last year, so it should not have been hard to see whether any involved children. Children often do not understand what is happening to them when they are trafficked. They might not be able to identify who their traffickers were or the links between the trafficker and the exploitation. That is why a huge coalition of charities and eminent lawyers support a specific child exploitation offence.

Let me now deal with the amendments relating to female genital mutilation. New clauses 16 and 15 propose a new offence of encouragement of FGM, and encouragement warning notices and orders. The Labour Front-Bench team proposed these new clauses in Committee, ably led by my hon. Friend the Member for Feltham and Heston (Seema Malhotra). I am proposing them again on Report because of the importance of this offence. Clearly, all Members want to end the practice of FGM, and we want to do so within a generation. The measures already in the Bill, although important, are largely reactive—the new offence of encouraging FGM is a preventive measure in the strongest sense.

On 6 February, we had the international day for zero tolerance of FGM and there were renewed calls for nations to do all they can to end FGM. Like colleagues on both sides of the House, we have been meeting and working with amazing young women in Britain who are leading the calls for change in the UK. We have not only a moral duty, but a legal duty to end FGM under international law. The practice can have devastating health impacts for girls, leading to a range of problems, including urinary infections, a lifetime of pain and even infertility. It is not enough simply to react to FGM—to

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take action after the fact; we need to focus our efforts on prevention, which is why we need to work to tackle some of the long-standing cultural context within which FGM takes place.

Sir William Cash: Does the hon. Lady agree that it is essential to ensure that girls at risk are also protected?

Diana Johnson: I absolutely agree with the hon. Gentleman on that point. Research undertaken by Dexter Dias QC with survivors of FGM from around the country highlighted the need for measures to tackle the encouragement of FGM, whereby parents can be put under extreme pressure to cut their girls. Not only are parents told that their daughters will never get married, but whole families can be ostracised and isolated as unclean. We need to support those seeking to change the culture in affected communities that they are part of and send out the message that this practice is against the law. That is why Labour has proposed adding a new offence of the encouragement of FGM to this Bill. As I say, it was tabled in Committee and we feel it is important that we have brought it back today.

David T. C. Davies (Monmouth) (Con): I agree with what the hon. Lady is saying. Does she agree that, over the long term, one problem we have had is that we have spent too much time listening to the self-appointed “leaders” of minority groups and not listening to the women within those groups, who are often treated very unfairly by their so-called “leaders”?

Diana Johnson: I entirely agree that we need to listen to young women, mothers and families, which is why it has been so important that, over the past few years, young women have felt strong enough to come forward and champion the cause for themselves.

The Bill includes a number of vital measures, such as the FGM protection orders, a new offence of failing to protect a girl from FGM and anonymity of survivors for life. We welcome those measures and give them our full support. However, although they address the matter of ways to respond when a girl is at immediate risk of being cut or has been cut, they do not go far enough in helping to prevent the crime of FGM in the first place.

The new offence would, for the first time, give parents and girls the opportunity in law to challenge the public encouragement of FGM. It has a stronger preventive effect than any other measure in the Bill, and it seeks to change the culture and break the cycle.

The measures currently on the statute book are not working. Thousands of girls in the UK are at risk, yet, since FGM was made a crime 30 years ago, there have only ever been two prosecutions and no convictions. Our proposals will criminalise every published statement or speech encouraging FGM, and will allow the police to issue encouragement warning notices and to follow up with encouragement warning orders, the breach of which would be a criminal offence. This would be a proportionate response and would send out a message of zero tolerance of such violence against girls. It is precisely the message that we need to send, as it makes a clear statement that there is no cultural excuse for violence against women and girls. I hope the Minister will feel able to respond positively to those amendments.

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New clause 2 was tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (John Mann) along with many other right hon. and hon. Members. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for his work, for pursuing child abuse cases and for ensuring that the perpetrators are brought to justice. Labour Front Benchers are entirely sympathetic to his approach, and we think that it is absolutely the right thing to do. Perhaps the Minister could comment on that new clause in his closing remarks, and I hope that the Government will feel able to support my hon. Friend. If they feel that the wording needs to be tidied up so that it flows a little better, there is an opportunity to do that when the Bill returns to the other place.

New clause 11, which was tabled by the right hon. Member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd (Mr Llwyd), relates to the protection that should be offered to 16 and 17-year-olds. The Children’s Society has provided an informative brief about why 16 and 17-year-olds need that additional protection. Briefly, it recognises that 16 and 17-year-olds in other parts of the world have protections that we do not have in this country, which is why we support the measure.

New clause 17 relates to mandatory reporting. We will be moving to a vote on this matter. An amendment was moved in Committee, which dealt with a consultation on mandatory reporting. We listened very carefully to what was said and feel that our new clause deals with some of the issues that the Government were concerned about, and we hope that they will support it today.

Mrs Cheryl Gillan (Chesham and Amersham) (Con): The hon. Lady may know that I have, in the past, spoken up on behalf of Mandate Now and my constituent Mr Tom Perry. I am very keen on mandatory reporting, but having looked carefully at the proposed new clause, I have found that under subsection (2)(a), she is permitting undefined circumstances as a reason not to refer an incident for independent assessment. In the view of Mandate Now, and in my opinion, that completely undermines the concept of mandatory reporting. She may be pressing the new clause to a vote, but those of us who believe in mandatory reporting will not be able support it because it is badly flawed, and looks, I am afraid, like a rehash of some old wording.

Diana Johnson: I am sorry that the right hon. Lady feels that. Mandatory reporting is clearly complicated and this is quite a technical area. We have proposed the new clause on the basis of the best advice we have received about how to do this, alongside advice and guidance from some of the children’s charities, and we recognise that this is a difficult area. I am sorry that the right hon. Lady does not feel able to support us, but I hope that those on the Government Front Bench will reconsider their view on mandatory reporting. We feel that it is a positive step that should be taken forward.

Mrs Gillan: It is important that we take this seriously, and having dealt with my constituent and these issues for some time I agree with the hon. Lady that mandatory reporting is essential. As I understand it, the Government will have a consultation on the process so that we get it absolutely right. It is therefore a shame to force a vote tonight on something that is flawed and that does not do the job. I ask the hon. Lady and her colleagues on the Front Bench to think again. Obviously, we cannot

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start the consultation during the period of purdah, but it will start immediately after the general election, as I understand it.

Diana Johnson: It is disappointing that we have not been able to have that period of consultation, because the question of mandatory reporting has been around for considerably longer than the Serious Crime Bill. It has been raised by the shadow Home Secretary a number of times over the past couple of years. It is a shame that we are in the position we are in today, because we could have moved on the issue earlier.

Let me move on to new clause 19, for which I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham (Sarah Champion). Those on the Labour Front Bench are supporting her amendment, which will introduce child abduction warning orders, and I am sure that my hon. Friend will speak with great knowledge and passion about the subject. I know that her experiences as a constituency MP have shaped her view of the changes she wants to see in the Bill. I will not go into the details of the new clause, but I hope that we will have an opportunity to test the opinion of the House on this as it would give law enforcement an important tool for tackling some of the exploitative actions of certain members of our communities towards young people.

New clause 26 sets out special measures for victims of sexual offences in recognition of the fact that they will almost certainly be afraid and distressed at the prospect of giving evidence in court. In particular, someone who has been subjected to domestic coercive control intended to reduce their self-esteem and make them a virtual prisoner of the defendant will inevitably suffer fear and distress at the prospect of giving evidence about it and coming face to face with the defendant in a public court. There can be no doubt that had the offences of coercive control existed at the time of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999, which the new clause would amend, the authors would have included this provision.

The new clause is practical. Unless a complainant can be given a guarantee from the start that they will not have to give evidence face to face with the perpetrator, they might not have the confidence to proceed. If the best that can be said by others is that at some future stage they will ask a judge to grant special measures, that might not reassure a vulnerable victim enough, which might be the difference between supporting a prosecution and getting a conviction and not doing so. There is a public interest in prosecutions for this type of offence as perpetrators of domestic abuse are often serial offenders and other potential victims need to be protected, but a victim should automatically be entitled to protection in their own right.

Finally, Government amendment 10 builds on the work done by the hon. Member for Mole Valley (Sir Paul Beresford) over a number of years. The extraterritorial nature of the offence was mentioned in Committee and I am pleased that the Government have moved on this. I pay tribute to the hon. Gentleman for the work he has carried out over many years in the House to improve protection for children.

Several hon. Members rose

Mr Speaker: Order. There is much interest in these important matters and some sensitivity about subsequent

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groupings. Therefore, if colleagues while of course expounding with characteristic eloquence can do so with exemplary brevity, that will be received heartily in the House.

5.45 pm

Sir William Cash: I am extremely glad that we have this opportunity to discuss FGM and wish to thank those who have made the discussion happen. I have corresponded with the Home Secretary, the Secretaries of State for Justice and for International Development and the Leader of the House and met them to discuss all the matters to which I am about to refer. We have also had advice from some very capable and senior barristers. Sir Keir Starmer, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, completely supports what I am about to say, as does Aileen McColgan of chambers. These matters have been pushed forward by the not-for-profit organisation Justice for FGM Victims, and I would like to pay tribute to Sarita Bingeman for her work on this over many months.

Amendment 20, which stands in my name, is simple and incredibly short—all it would do is leave out “the” and insert “a risk of”. As I have said repeatedly in interventions, it is not good enough simply to rely on the fact that the act of female genital mutilation has been carried out, for example when notifying the police or dealing with guidance, which is quite vague and is not specific enough to deal with the problem of girls being at risk.

I will briefly give the House some figures. About a decade ago the number of girls and women in England and Wales who had undergone FGM was approximately 66,000. Shockingly, that figure is now estimated to be 137,000. Equally worrying is the number of girls in England and Wales under the age of 15 who are at risk of FGM, which over the same period has increased from about 20,000 to an estimated 60,000. I am talking about 60,000 girls under the age of 15 who are at risk. That rise is further demonstrated by official figures recorded since the new reporting system was introduced by hospitals in the UK last year. They show that 2,269 girls and women who had undergone FGM were treated in hospitals in November 2014 alone, and of those 466 were newly identified cases. That is very alarming and unacceptable, and there is an urgent need to prevent the number growing further. This is an unforgiveable crime. It is beyond imagination that it is going on, and indeed that it is increasing exponentially at the rate I have described.

I am glad that the Government have brought forward a power to make an FGM protection order. All I am asking for, on the best legal advice, is that the words “a risk of” be included in paragraph 1(1)(a) of schedule 2, which is set out in clause 72. Sub-paragraph (1) would therefore read:

“The court in England and Wales may make an order (an “FGM protection order”) for the purposes of —

(a) protecting a girl against a risk of commission of a genital mutilation offence”,

rather than simply

“(a) protecting a girl against the commission of a genital mutilation offence”.

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The Bill currently does not state explicitly, despite the intention that it should do so, that the order may be applied for and/or granted in the event of a risk that a genital mutilation offence may be committed. Although some are arguing that there could be some difficulty interpreting the words in relation to forced marriage orders, the fact is that it is apples and pears.

When we are dealing with forced marriage, we are dealing with people who are much older and with different circumstances. We are not dealing with five and six-year-old children who do not know what is being done to them. The horror and brutality of FGM must be dealt with. We cannot simply deal with the circumstances by analogy, as has been suggested to me by some technical advisers and lawyers. I am a lawyer myself; I was shadow Attorney-General. I do not misunderstand the nature of questions of interpretation. We have to tailor the circumstances to the problem that we are faced with. We are faced with a massive problem so it is essential that we deal with it.

Some have said that guidance would be sufficient. The guidance, which everybody in the House can look at, does not deal with the specific problem of those at risk. As I said, on the issue of notifying the police, that would apply only where the mutilation had already taken place. These are small girls. The practice cannot be allowed to carry on. We must do something about it. If I may suggest it, everybody should vote with me on this issue, including the Government. I ask the Opposition to be good enough to vote with me as well.

Let me give an example. On 3 April 2014 the Department for Education published updated statutory guidance on safeguarding. It was called “Keeping children safe in education”. The guidance tells teachers how to identify girls who are at risk or who have suffered FGM. It was e-mailed to every school in the country and on the same day a letter from the Secretary of State was e-mailed to all head teachers, drawing their attention to the guidance. The letter was e-mailed to 31,660 addressees in 25,000 schools. As at 30 April only 43% of recipients had opened the e-mail, and only 30% of recipients had clicked through to the guidance on safeguarding. That is why the legislation is needed.

Further statistics for each London borough show that the response rate was significantly worse in some areas, including some where large numbers of girls were from communities that had traditionally practised FGM. In Hackney, for example, only 25% of the 91 heads had read the guidance, and in Lambeth and Southwark the proportion who did so was only 34%, yet those girls are at risk. Other front-line workers have said that faced with the confusing number and breadth of guidelines, protocols and regulations that often appear conflicting, they have turned to the legislation—the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003—to provide clarity for themselves. But as the shadow Minister said, only two prosecutions have taken place and neither was successful. What are we doing in this country? How are we allowing FGM to happen? I appeal to Members to vote for my amendment.

A number of front-line professionals from the health, education and social services, including the child protection sector, were interviewed by Justice for FGM Victims. All of them stated that they would welcome the guidance that would be provided if the amendment were accepted, but not otherwise. They believe that the explicit mention

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of the requirement to apply successfully for a protection order would support front-line staff and empower them to take action where they thought there was a risk of FGM being committed against a young girl or woman.

FGM is practised in secret. It is extremely difficult for care professionals to know whether a person is at risk. Therefore as a deterrent and in order to catch the perpetrators, it is essential that the words “a risk of” are included. This is not a small matter. It is a small amendment about a very, very big matter. Girls are being victimised, abused and terrorised by FGM, and it is happening on our watch. It must be stopped.

John Mann (Bassetlaw) (Lab): I welcome various sensible and positive suggestions. I shall speak to new clause 2, which I trust the Government will accept. If not, we will give the House the opportunity to decide whether it should be accepted. I am sure, Mr Speaker, that in today’s rather confused timetable you will indicate the appropriate time at which to do so.

I wish to make three substantive points in relation to the new clause. I thank those in every part of the House who have added their name to it. The abuse in Rotherham has been described as the tip of the iceberg. It is a rather easy phrase to use. I do not think that the majority of people out in the country, if they have thought about the language used, believe that that is true. They think they have seen the bad side and that there may be a bit more of it, but that it cannot get worse than that. My experience is that Rotherham is no different from anywhere else, except that it has had a detailed inquiry which has quantified the problem better than in other places. There are some specific and uncomfortable elements to the problem there that certainly differentiate it from my area, but I know that my area is no worse than anywhere else.

When I have used the opportunities I have in my weekly newspaper columns to suggest to victims, current or past, that they should come forward, I expected a few people to come forward. What I did not expect is somebody new to come forward every week. I did not expect people to fly back to my constituency from across the world, as they have done and as more wish to do, to give me precise evidence that they have given to nobody in 30 years. They know that that will never lead to a prosecution, but when they spoke out before they were not believed. They speak of individual, specific, single incidents of sexual violence, on different scales, of differing natures, yet every week new people—my constituents—are coming forward.

It is almost as if the process began with the easier cases—easier in the sense that the people were more prepared, and the cases were more specific, more identifiable and more prosecutable—and, as the weeks go by, the bigger ones come. I have a brand-new case now. People do not make up such allegations. One cannot make up what I was told by somebody younger than me. The sexual violence and other violence is not even the most horrific part of it. At the age of 11, that person was put into slavery in a workplace and location that I can identify. I am not going to name it as that is the prerogative of the person involved. I think he will name it, then everybody in my area will be able to identify it. He mentioned witnesses whom he could identify and names that I know.

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That went on year after year, and what did my constituent and other kids of 11 or 12 do? They ran away. What happened when they ran away? They were returned time and again to the same perpetrators by the police and the social workers, until one heroic social worker rescued my constituent, unlike the other kids living in that foster home, who were not rescued. He has got on with his life and had spoken to nobody until he came to me. The report is being prepared in great detail and will go to the police. I do not know whether those who covered up for the school by falsifying its records in saying he was there when he was not—the employer and those working there alongside an 11-year-old, then a 12, 13, 14 and 15-year-old, during those years—are all still alive; presumably some of them will be. There will be a major investigation.

That is just a single example; I have not mentioned the other victims. If it happened in my constituent’s time, what about the kids before or the kids after? I make a few discreet inquiries and vast amounts of things immediately come out that people know about—a huge web. This was just one foster family among many. It was horrendous, systemised abuse. The system was at fault, and everyone within it, because these kids were regarded as commodities. They were to be sold, and they were sold—in this case, into actual, technical slavery. It was a money-making activity.

6 pm

It is vital that we get on top of the responses needed for the future, for now—because of course this kind of thing, in different ways, still goes on—and for the past. What is absolutely clear to me is the volume of people directly affected and the number of lives blighted. Many of these people cannot come to me, or anybody else, because they are dead, or beyond being able to explain anything even though they are still technically alive. Some of those who come to see me can say nothing at all because what has happened has so traumatised and affected their lives.

That is a microcosm, but it goes deeper. Rampton special hospital is the only secure psychiatric unit for women in this country. Let us look at the conclusions of the research about every single woman in there—they have all committed the most horrendous of crimes; that is why they are in there—and see what happened to them in their young lives. There is a causation—a direct link. We talk about early interventions in dealing with some of the most horrific, terrible things that we hear about and sometimes have to deal with. Those things do not just come from nowhere. That is why it is so vital that there are no no-go areas in what is looked at.

The new clause is about only one small aspect. Prominent people are not the majority in these cases. Only one of the many people in my constituency who have come forward—a Savile victim—has named so-called prominent people, so that is not the problem in my area. However, there is a problem about how a number of investigations have been curtailed. In 1988, I gave evidence to the police on corruption in relation to buildings in Lambeth. A blockage was put on that investigation for no good reason. I now find from a police officer who served in later years that seven years later the wine bars I had identified for all sorts of malpractice were referred to the police again for similar activities. Yet there was no police investigation; each time, it was blocked. I have my suspicions regarding that case.

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It would be tempting to name the prominent people—one would get plenty of headlines—but it would be highly inappropriate. Some of the names floating around were undoubtedly blackmailed as opposed to being perpetrators. One of the problems is deciding who was the perpetrator and who was the victim. One of the ways of covering tracks is to try to spread things around, and that is a danger. That is all the more reason why one kind of evidence that has not been made available should be made available. I have spoken to someone in an appropriate position who saw the Dickens dossier. I have a good idea of what is in it, but they will not tell me because of the restrictions of the Official Secrets Act. It would be helpful to the inquiry and to the police for that information to come out. In 1980, special branch closed down investigations into Coronation buildings in south Lambeth, again with no explanation, although plenty of people were involved. Knowing why these things happen would be important to the inquiry and to ongoing police investigations.

The Don Hale files are a set of minutes from the Home Office—I think they are its detailed investigations into the Dickens dossier—that were seized by special branch. I am not interested in Mr Hale’s recollection of the names—he did not take a copy—but I am interested in the fact that a lot of people saw those files. The Dickens dossier was copied 20 times. The person who told me that they had seen it was at a meeting when it was there, and the copies were then collected in. Lots of people have seen these things. Lots of police officers—special branch and others—have information about them.

Individuals have said to me, and some have informed me anonymously, that the restrictions of the Official Secrets Act are holding them back. Some fear prosecution. More, I think, fear that they will lose their pension because of the technicalities of breaching the Act. The new clause would create a defence against prosecution. Its wording is drawn up not by me but by people who know how to draw up such things—the experts in this building. Creating such a defence would allow those people to give information, not to me or my friends in the media, but to the relevant investigating authorities. Indeed, they would have an obligation to give it, because they would have the protection and the guarantee given by us in statute. That would have a huge and significant impact in sorting out who did what, who of those still alive should be prosecuted, and which of those whose names are circulating are entirely innocent and may well be victims themselves. From what I have seen and heard over the years, I believe that some of the prominent names that circulate are victims as opposed to perpetrators. The perpetrators who are still alive could then be more easily prosecuted with additional and significant evidence.

My final point is about Cyril Smith. There is no problem in naming Cyril Smith; he has been named many times before. Police officer after police officer, and special branch officer after special branch officer, has said to me and to others that they were stopped from arresting and prosecuting Cyril Smith, and no one has answered the question why. Why was Cyril Smith, for a significant period, given immunity from prosecution given that a significant number of people, including many police officers, have come forward about it, to me never mind anybody else? Why would they come forward

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to me, in particular, for no particular reason? That tells me that there are many more people out there who know what was going on and why he was given protection. This question has to be answered. Passing the new clause will mean that these people will come forward, as some say they will. That will help to provide some justice for the victims, help with some prosecutions, and, crucially, help the truth to come out.

Several hon. Members rose

Mr Speaker: All of a sudden, a sprouting. I call Nicola Blackwood.

Nicola Blackwood (Oxford West and Abingdon) (Con): There is much to debate in this group of amendments and I particularly welcome new clauses 8 and 9, but for the sake of brevity I will stick to my new clause 27 and the associated clauses, which seek to resolve the much debated problem of child abduction warning notices applying unequally to children in care and those out of care.

New clause 27 is a probing amendment, so I shall not press it to a vote, but I would like to emphasise my disappointment that the Government have not found a way to resolve the problem. There has been plenty of time to do so and the issue has been debated extensively at all stages. It is a relatively contained problem. The fact that police can only use CAWNs to protect victims up to the age of 16 if they are living at home, and not those up to the age of 18 if they are in care, is a real-world problem created by the fact that these administrative orders are reliant on two separate pieces of legislation. It should be perfectly possible to resolve the situation if we put our minds to it.

A number of solutions have been proposed to the Government during the Bill’s progress, including putting CAWNs on a statutory basis, which would also create a penalty on breach, as suggested by the hon. Member for Rotherham (Sarah Champion); amending the offence of child abduction so that it applies to children up to the age of 18; and my new clause 27, which would create a secondary offence, under the Child Abduction Act 1984, of abducting a child aged 16 to 18. All of those proposals have been rejected by the Government because they say that they are unnecessary, that they would create additional bureaucracy and that they would risk creating unintended consequences for prosecutors in relation to consent.

The first point has no merit. The reforms have been requested directly by serving police officers, social workers and parents who are battling child sexual exploitation on the front line and who have found that the inability to use CAWNs to protect children aged 16 to 18 living at home is a gap in their armoury as they wage an already incredibly challenging battle against abusers.

Ministers have said that the new risk of sexual harm orders will address that gap, but they will not. As the MP who led the campaign to reform the old civil prevention orders and replace them with the current orders under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, I welcome them wholeheartedly, but for police to obtain a ROSHO they must prove the sexual element of risk to a criminal standard of evidence in court. As administrative orders, CAWNs do not require either that evidential threshold or the proving of

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the sexual element. Police officers and others have told me that that is precisely why CAWNs are so successful in disrupting child sexual exploitation where the sexual abuser may not be the individual who is transporting or controlling the victim and therefore sexual risk may be indirect.

It is unquestionably true that ROSHOs, gang injunctions and trafficking orders have significant roles to play in disrupting grooming, but, as statutory orders that require judicial oversight, none of those can replace the CAWN in the architecture of powers available to police for disrupting CSE. They simply do not have the immediacy or the simplicity I have described.

For that reason, I am not convinced that putting the orders on a statutory footing is the best solution. The Government have said that that would create additional bureaucracy, which is not the best turn of phrase, because it sounds like there would just be a bit more paperwork. That is not the concern that has been raised with me by senior police officers. If CAWNs were put on a statutory footing, they would become a civil order, like the ROSHO, which, rightly, has an evidentiary threshold and judicial oversight. That very process of having to apply through the courts and gather increased evidence risks creating an inappropriate situation not only of fewer CAWNs being sought, but of the CAWN losing its unique place in the policing toolbox as a quick response tool that can be applied as a deterrent and disruption device that is also valuable in establishing association and bad character in prosecution.

Although I understand that the value of introducing a statutory basis would be to bring in a penalty on breach, that aspect is already covered by the statutory civil prevention orders—from ROSHOs to trafficking orders—which all involve penalties on breach. Of course, most of those orders, in their current form, are new and I urge the Government and the College of Policing to develop guidance on how they should operate as a progressive and interrelated set of powers now available to police to deter, disrupt and prevent serious organised crime against children in particular. However, if filling in the gap in CAWNs is necessary but making CAWNs statutory is not the answer, then what is?

As we have heard, CAWNs for children living at home have their legislative basis in section 2(1) of the Child Abduction Act 1984. The Government object to changing the age limit for that offence of abduction from the legal age of consent of 16 to 18 on the grounds that it would risk the victims, even those under the age of 16, being challenged by defence barristers on questions of consent. I accept that we have fought too many battles to improve protections for vulnerable witnesses against aggressive cross-examination in court to want to do anything to weaken a prosecutor’s arm, especially on questions of consent, and that is why I tabled new clause 27, proposing a secondary offence, with a higher threshold, of abduction of 16 to 18-year-olds.

I do not believe that would compromise the integrity of the current child abduction offence for under 16-year-olds, but it would offer a legislative basis to close the current gap in CAWNs and give the police the power to intervene quickly and effectively to protect 16 to 18-year-olds who we know remain at high risk of child sexual exploitation where grooming gangs are operating, whether they happen to be living at home or not.

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I do not for a moment believe, however, that that is the only way to solve the problem and I really do not care whether my proposal is accepted or a non-legislative solution is found, provided that the Minister makes two clear commitments. The first is to work with Members from across the House, children’s charities and practitioners to find a way to close the gap in CAWNs so that they apply equally to children in care and those out of care up to the age of 18, preferably by the time this Bill reaches the other House. The second commitment is to commission, as a matter of urgency, guidance on the new architecture of civil prevention and administrative orders, specifically the way in which they relate to the protection of children from serious organised crime.

These are despicable crimes committed against the most vulnerable of victims and no stone should be left unturned in equipping the police and other agencies to protect victims and prevent abuse all the way up to the age of 18, no matter where those people happen to live.


Sarah Champion (Rotherham) (Lab): Thank you for removing the time limit, Mr Speaker, not only because the voices of victims and survivors do not get enough air time in this place, but because, as those who have spoken before me have shown, there is a lot of passion about this topic and an awful lot of commitment to it.

I welcome new clauses 8 and 3 and Government amendments 13 to 17, which aim to remove the term “child prostitution” from legislation. Victims and survivors I have met say that the term makes them feel incredibly dirty and as though they colluded in the crime in some way. However, the amendments remove the term from only three of the 16 relevant pieces of legislation. If I pass the list to the Solicitor-General, will the Government make a serious, long-term commitment to remove the term from each of those pieces of legislation? I would be very grateful for that.

I want principally to speak to new clause 19 and follow on from the contribution of the hon. Member for Oxford West and Abingdon (Nicola Blackwood), who spoke eloquently and has done most of the preparatory work. I have met the Solicitor-General, spoken at Committee stage and exchanged letters with him. He has expressed the view that, if child abduction warning notices were to become statutory, that would cause an unnecessary replication of sexual risk orders, which are being introduced by the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. However, given that the legislation has not yet been enacted and guidance not yet published, I cannot be entirely satisfied that SROs will close the gap that has been identified in child protection.

One concern is that the application of SROs to low-level grooming activities seems to depend on an officer taking a very wide interpretation of an

“act of a sexual nature”.

Unless the guidance is very specific and the training given to police very thorough, I am not convinced that officers will feel confident to use SROs on, for instance, a 20-year-old who is hanging around with a 14-year-old.

My cross-party inquiry with Barnardo’s last year found that police officers were clearly familiar with the use of child abduction warning notices, and everyone we interviewed asked that they be made statutory. My fear

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is that, rather than reducing bureaucracy, the Solicitor-General will create more by having another power, as opposed to strengthening the existing one.

Mr Speaker: I thank the hon. Lady for her extreme succinctness.

Several hon. Members rose

Mr Speaker: What a delicious choice. I call Mrs Cheryl Gillan.

Mrs Gillan: I want to continue my challenge to new clause 17, specifically on behalf of Mandate Now, which was set up by my constituent Tom Perry and seeks to introduce a new law making it mandatory for people working in regulated activities to report their suspicions to the local authority.

I am delighted that the Opposition support mandatory reporting, but I am disappointed with the flaws in their new clause. I believe that mandatory reporting is inevitable, but its design will be critical. It is not a law that, as MandateNow says,

“can be lifted from a shelf, applied and switched on.”

It is a complicated and nuanced subject and such a law needs very careful construction, as I am sure the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Diana Johnson) appreciates, particularly having adopted the position that Opposition Front Benchers have taken up recently.

The hon. Member for Bassetlaw (John Mann) struck a chord with me when he said that there should be no no-go areas, which is absolutely right. I am worried that new clause 17 would create such no-go areas, and protect and enshrine them in a flawed law.

It appears from new clause 17(1)(c) that the duty to report would apply only when harm is caused in the setting of a regulated activity. As I understand it, children who are abused at home would remain outside its scope. Multiple concerns, or even any concern about any child, brought to the attention of staff—for example, at their school—would not necessarily be caught by the provision as currently drafted.

Diana Johnson: The right hon. Lady and I have already had an exchange on this issue. What happens in a school is obviously a regulated activity, so my understanding is that if teachers working in the school become aware of the issue, that would be covered by the new clause.

Mrs Gillan: Mandate Now’s understanding is that such a situation would not be covered. If abuse occurs outside one of the regulated activities, but is brought to the attention of someone involved in a regulated activity, there appears from the drafting of subsection (1)(c) to be a possibility that the abuse would not be a mandatorily reportable incident.

Subsection (1)(c) would require that a person

“becomes aware that a child has been harmed”.

That requirement is problematic. So often with sexual abuse, it is very difficult to suspect it, let alone to know about it. Mandate Now’s challenge to the proposal from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty

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to Children is absolutely right. A law that depends on somebody being “aware” is drafted in a dangerously vague way. It will not catch most cases. The hon. Lady should therefore consider using the phrase that a person must act on “reasonable grounds of suspicion”. Such a change would improve the drafting of her new clause 17.

Similarly, the exemption in subsection (2)(a) permitting undefined circumstances as a reason not to refer an incident for independent assessment totally undermines the concept of mandatory reporting. When might it be in the interests of a child to be harmed and for those who know or suspect to do nothing about it? Such a situation needs to be made explicit.

Subsection (2)(b) is almost a facsimile of the current and porous position. In complying with current non-mandatory reporting clauses in institutional child protection procedures, personal liability seems to be avoided. The proposal continues a failed narrative in which reporting to the local authority for independent assessment is reliant on what the person responsible for reporting believes. For example, if a member of staff refers a case to the head teacher as the designated person and nothing happens, because the head believes it is not in the child’s interests to refer it or follows the inadequate professional guidelines—as it happens, they are discretionary—then the new clause will produce no change. As Mandate Now has stated, the exceptions in subsection (2) undermine the already underpowered provisions in subsection (1).

As the hon. Lady will know, an earlier amendment on mandatory reporting was moved in the other place, but was withdrawn on an assurance from the Government that they would start a consultation on mandatory reporting. She and I know, as does the Solicitor-General, that the terms of reference for the consultation have not yet been drawn up.

We are approaching something called the general election, so there is purdah. I have a proposition to make to both Front Benchers: it would be good to work on this matter on a cross-party basis. It should not be a political subject, but something on which we agree. Rather than putting new clause 17 to a vote, it would be good if they met behind the Chair and agreed to the Government drawing up the terms of reference with the Opposition and publishing them as soon as possible during the period of purdah before the general election. In that way, all the victims and people relying on this place to improve the situation for our all future children, and to learn from the history faced by many of our constituents, would have a lot more confidence that we are doing our job correctly.

Sir Edward Garnier: In dealing with subsection (2) of new clause 17, my right hon. Friend alights on one of the problems. An awful lot of well-motivated proposals are brought forward in relation to such Bills, but her point demonstrates that we must be careful not to legislate without thinking very carefully about what is intended. It is not clear to me that having

“acted in the best interests of the child”

is demonstrated on the subjective basis of the person who believes they have so acted, or is to be tested against what a reasonable person believes from looking at how that person has acted. If we agree to the subsection without analysing that, we will get into trouble. I urge her to ask the two Front Benchers to talk about that if they meet behind the Speaker’s Chair.

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Mrs Gillan: My hon. and learned Friend is absolutely right. He reinforces the position spotted by the commentators at Mandate Now about the drafting of new clause 17. As I say, I want the matter to be non-party political—it should be irrespective of politics—so it would be good if we showed the House doing its best by coming together, with the Government and the Opposition working together on the guidelines for the consultation and getting them out as soon as possible.

Mandate Now’s membership base is 114 survivor charities in England, eight in Scotland and 10 in Wales, so there is a substantial body of opinion behind its views. I very much hope that both Front Benchers will take them seriously and not force us through the Lobby against new clause 17. I believe in the concept, but I cannot vote for the new clause because of its quite obvious flaws.

Mr Elfyn Llwyd (Dwyfor Meirionnydd) (PC): About an hour ago, Mr Speaker, you expressed your pleasant surprise at the Solicitor-General’s brevity, and I hope that I do not revert to type. I, too, shall keep my remarks short.

I welcome new clauses 8 to 10, which relate to the language applied to young children who are victims of sexual exploitation in the FGM provisions and so on. I am fully in sympathy with the very powerful speech made by the hon. Member for Stone (Sir William Cash). I support new clause 2, and the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (John Mann) also made a powerful speech.

The provisions in part 5 relating to the new offence of child cruelty are of fundamental importance and should be welcomed. The new offence balances both physical and psychological harm, because psychological abuse can have such a debilitating impact on children. However, my new clause 11 reflects my concern, and that of organisations such as the Children’s Society, that the Government have not taken the opportunity presented by the Bill to offer protection to 16 and 17-year-olds at risk of cruelty and neglect. After all, the United Nations convention on the rights of the child and the Children Act 1989 both define a child as a person under 18. In Committee, I sought to amend the Bill by redefining a child as a person under 18, and I made the case for extending the legislation on child abduction to 16 and 17-year-olds. Unfortunately, I was unable to persuade the Committee of the merits of my amendments, so I withdrew them. My intention in retabling them today is to highlight the issue once more.

New clause 11 would amend the Children’s Act 1933 by inserting a new section on cruelty to a person aged 16 or 17. The new section would ensure that anyone aged 18 or over who wilfully assaulted, ill-treated, neglected, abandoned or injured a 16 or 17-year-old would be guilty of an offence. Crucially, the new clause acknowledges that ill treatment can be both physical and psychological.

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When I first made the point in Committee that the definition of a child in this provision should include 16 and 17-year-olds, concerns were raised about the implication for young people of those ages who live independently. For that reason, an adult may be found guilty of an offence under new clause 11 only if they are proven to be “personally connected” to the victim—that is, if the victim and perpetrator were living together at the time

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of the offence, if the perpetrator had parental responsibility over the victim, if the perpetrator was a relative of the victim, or if the perpetrator was or had been married to or been the civil partner of a parent of the victim. If found guilty under the new clause, a perpetrator could face up to 10 years in prison on conviction or indictment, or six months in prison on summary conviction.

I believe that this change would send the important message that 16 and 17-year-olds can be every bit as vulnerable as their younger counterparts and that they deserve our protection or, rather, the protection of the law. As the existing law disregards them, I would argue that 16 and 17-year-olds are in some ways more vulnerable to neglect than younger children, since there is the perception that they can make it on their own.

According to the Children’s Society, approximately 16,000 16 and 17-year-olds were at risk of homelessness last year as a result of a breakdown in their relationship with their family. It is therefore no surprise to learn that 35% of all those who are reported missing are aged between 15 and 17. Last year in England, 42,000-plus 16 and 17-year-olds became children in need, 24,000-plus of whom were identified as being at risk of abuse or neglect. Distressingly, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner has estimated that 7,260 16 and 17-year-olds are at risk of child sexual exploitation.

I hope that the House will recognise the severity of this issue. I am sure that those who oppose this change will argue that the laws of common assault, kidnapping and sexual exploitation already apply to this age group. However, the fundamental point is that child cruelty laws are different, in that they acknowledge the breach of trust between the parent or guardian and the child. The guardian has a responsibility to protect and care for the children who live with him or her. I see no reason why 16 and 17-year-olds should be denied the legal protections that are afforded to those younger than them. We should keep it in mind that 90% of 16 and 17-year-olds live with their families—a number that is unlikely to decrease in the current fiscal climate. I urge the House to support new clause 11.

I also support new clause 27, which was tabled by the hon. Member for Oxford West and Abingdon (Nicola Blackwood). It seeks to create an offence of child abduction that pertains to 16 and 17-year-olds. It is important to note that 16 and 17-year-olds who are taken into care by their local authority are already protected by child abduction warning notices under section 31 of the 1989 Act. However, that represents only a tiny proportion of the children who are looked after by local authorities. Last year, for example, 190 children in that age bracket were taken into care, but 4,510 young people in that age bracket had become looked after. Equally, 4,000-plus 16 and 17-year-olds left care last year, many of whom will have gone on to live in supported accommodation, leaving them still very vulnerable, I am afraid.