Campaigning MP welcomes change to sexual abuse law

The Oxford Times: Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood

OXFORD West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood has welcomed new legislation to tackle sex abusers.

MPs in the House of Commons yesterday confirmed an amendment to the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill that will make it easier for police to tackle suspected sex abusers.

The change follows Miss Blackwood’s Childhood Lost campaign, launched last August, which was backed by more than 103,000 supporters in the wake of the Bullfinch sex abuse investigation.

Operation Bullfinch saw seven men jailed for a total of 95 years in June after an 18-week trial heard they groomed, drugged, raped, and sold girls for sex in Oxford.

In October, Miss Blackwood successfully tabled an amendment to the Bill, and two new orders giving police extra powers, including banning suspects from contacting children. The threshold for the orders has also been lowered from serious sexual harm to just sexual harm.

A court can impose a sexual risk order on a suspect even if they have yet to be convicted of a crime if they feel a specific victim or children in general are at risk of abuse.

A sexual harm prevention order can be enforced on any abuser with a conviction or caution.

Miss Blackwood, below, said: “Having fought hard for this important change in the law, I am delighted that it is effectively signed and sealed.”

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Thames Valley Police, which is still running its Bullfinch investigation, had no one able to comment on the changes.

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