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Petitioning The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

Implement a custodial tariff for paedophiles

Sentencing of paedophiles does not reflect the impact on the lives of their victims.

A child who has been raped and/or abused will often shut down their memory of events as a natural defence against the destructive effects they experience, such as:

  • destructive feelings, self-harm and suicidal tendencies
  • difficulty in forming and maintaining normal relationships with others
  • lifelong changes to their personality, sense of identity, sense of self-worth, well-being and security

A survivor of child rape and/or abuse may be unable to confront what happened for many years. The perpetrator evades justice and remains free to continue abusing and raping other children while enjoying the freedoms associated with normal life in society that they have stolen from their victim.

I call upon all citizens of ‘civilised nations’ to sign the petition to make the Government of the United Kingdom take the following action:

Sentencing of paedophiles should take into account the length of time they avoid punishment for their crime.

For every year that passes from the time of the offence, an additional six months tariff should be added to the paedophile’s sentence.

A fundamental part of deterrent justice is the knowledge that punishment will result from an offender’s crimes. The longer an abuser stays at liberty, the longer their sentence will become - knowing this, an abuser will want to face justice sooner rather than later to avoid further increases in the time they will spend in prison.

Justice delayed is justice denied.

Sentencing for non-recent (historical) child abuse should take into account the length of time the perpetrator has avoided punishment.

Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights states that when you’re punished for a crime you committed in the past, you must be sentenced according to the laws in force at the time. For historical sex offences this means that a paedophile who raped a child in 1970 and has only just been prosecuted will get a maximum sentence of 6 years (law in force then) rather than 19 years (law in force now), despite having escaped justice for nearly half a century.

I believe this is wrong.

The law at the time - the Sexual Offences Act 1956 - was passed at a time when it becomes more apparent that there was an alleged Westminster paedophile ring gaining political influence. It’s possible that the law was influenced by the very people it was supposed to protect children from. The United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child places a responsibility on the United Kingdom to protect children from harm, but with ineffectual deterrents like those in the 1956 act there was no clear message to paedophiles that society felt moral outrage at their abhorrent crimes.

I believe that for several generations the United Kingdom failed in its moral and legal duty to protect children from harm, whilst also creating the conditions which allowed systemic, institutionalised abuse to happen and placing certain perpetrators above the law.

Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights makes provision for retrospective punishment where a country has failed to act on crimes that the rest of the world recognises as unacceptable.

Non-recent (historical) sex abuse should be punished according to the laws that our society now has in place, which means punishment appropriate to what we all accept are the worst kind of vile and destructive crimes. If this can be done within the legal principles of Article 7 then it should be; if it can’t then the law must change.

You can read more about this on my website: 

About this petition

This petition follows the success of my original petition on epetitions.direct.gov.uk - the official UK government ePetitions website - which was cut short by the 2015 General Election. I was given full support by my MP Nicky Morgan, and received a response from the then Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. You can read correspondence from them here:

You can also read more about my story here:

N.B. Paedophile is the common term used to refer to what is the lesser known term, paedosadist

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  • The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

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