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Children Conceived through Rape

Volume 656: debated on Tuesday 12 March 2019

15. What steps he is taking to ensure that rapists do not have access to children conceived through rape. (909724)

The hon. Lady raises an important and sensitive issue, but I would like to reassure her that our family law system is centred around the child and the welfare of the child. When judges make decisions about contact or care, the welfare of the child is always paramount, but we have been looking at various ways to strengthen our procedures and practice directions in relation to who gets notice of particular court applications. However, I remind the hon. Lady that the central principle is very important.

Following the recent high-profile case in Rotherham, has the Minister’s Department carried out a review of what went wrong? Is she considering a change in the law to ensure that such a case cannot happen again? If not, why not?

I am aware of the case the hon. Lady refers to, and I am pleased to have met Sammy Woodhouse some time ago, along with other Members of Parliament, to discuss the issue. We are continuing to look at this issue, at the principles that underlie it and, as I mentioned, specifically at the practice directions and procedures around these cases.