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Child Welfare

Volume 124: debated on Wednesday 9 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will take steps to seek to increase the minimum and maximum sentences available for those found guilty of sexually interfering with handicapped children while entrusted with their care.

There are no mandatory minimum penalties for sexual offences against children in any part of the United Kingdom and there are no plans to introduce such penalties in Northern Ireland.The maximum penalty for certain homosexual offences against children is life; for indecent assault it is 10 years, and for rape, it is life. It is proposed to increase the maximum sentence for attempted rape of a child and for indecent assault of a girl in a forthcoming Order in Council.The penalties for other sexual offences which may involve children are being kept under close review.