- Secretary of State for Justice, Michael GoveMinistry of Justice
Remove the 12 month "disclosure timescale" from CSA Sentencing guidelines
"Sarah" was groomed into sex in 1993 by an adult more than twice her age. From the article - "The first time anything happened was December, 1993. I was sitting on the sofa and he came in, made me a cup of tea. We had a cigarette together and were watching TV. That’s when he leaned over and kissed me. Then we started having sex. I was a virgin. I thought we were having a real relationship. I thought that he loved me. He would pick me up from school at lunchtime in his car. I thought I was the big woman who had this grown-up boyfriend who drove a BMW." When she realised that she had been groomed and abused, she reported it in 2012. However the CPS advised her he cannot be charged.
"Sylvie" and "Jane" were both groomed and abused by a teacher in the 1990's. From this article - ""Jane" was 14 when a teacher started inviting her to his home. "I liked him so I was happy just to go, thinking that I was going to hang out," she told Radio 4's The Report. "I thought that maybe he was going to be my boyfriend. He had a girlfriend but I sort of disregarded that. I could tell that he liked me. So I went to his house with that in mind. Things escalated over the next six months as the teacher built up her trust until eventually she had sex with him.." When "Sylvie" and "Jane" heard rumours that the teacher was suspected of doing the same thing with other girls, they went to the police. However, like in "Sarah's" case, the perpetrator cannot be prosecuted.
The reason that these offenders, and potentially hundreds of others, cannot be prosecuted, is because the sentencing guidelines connected with the offence that these offenders committed (Intercourse with a girl between 13 and 16), has a clause in it stating A prosecution for an offence committed under section 6 (or an attempt to commit that offence) must be commenced within 12 months of the alleged offence. The House of Lords has ruled that a charge of indecent assault cannot be used to bypass the time limit
The fact that there is a 12 month "disclosure timescale" in child sexual abuse sentencing guideline is totally unacceptable. All victims deserve equal justice, no matter if they disclose straight away, or after twenty years, and justice should not be thwarted by an out of date law and sentencing guidelines like this.
I am asking Chris Grayling and MoJ to remove this 12 month timescales from "Sarah's" and all existing and future cases where these conditions have been met, so they can all get the justice they deserve
- Ministry of Justice
Secretary of State for Justice, Michael Gove
The sentencing guidelines connected with the SoA 1956, include one with a timescale that victims need to disclose their crime. This is detailed in http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/p_to_r/rape_and_sexual_offences/soa_2003_and_soa_1956/#a43 (A prosecution for an offence committed under section 6 (or an attempt to commit that offence) must be commenced within 12 months of the alleged offence. The House of Lords has ruled that a charge of indecent assault cannot be used to bypass the time limit) and means that if victims of this crime do not disclose until after a year of the offence taking place, nothing will be done. The person who abused them is free from any prosecution and justice is not served.
This is not an issue with crimes committed after 2003 and the updated guidelines, but with a seemingly ever increasing number of disclosures and cases of abuse that has happened 15, 20, 30 years ago plus, it is unacceptable that nothing is being done. This is a gross miscarriage of justice, and this 12 month timescale needs to be retroactively removed.
This can be done through Parliamentary Sovereignty as detailed here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retroactivity.
No child sexual abuse crime should ever have a timescale for victims to disclose. Victims' rights must come first - not the rights of offenders to get away with their crime.
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