WillisPalmer launches Children’s Charter to support vulnerable children

Children who have suffered neglect and abuse during lockdown need identifying and providing with support as a matter of urgency as they return to school.

Read more
Make an Enquiry
Contact Us

Gap in UK legal system allows sex offenders to prey on children abroad

Sex offenders from England and Wales are travelling abroad to abuse children as a result of gaps in the UK's legal system, research by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has found.
Offenders from England and Wales are travelling to commit extensive abuse of children across the world, including in eastern Asia and Africa, the research has found.
Chair of the Inquiry, Professor Alexis Jay OBE, said: “The sexual abuse of children overseas by UK nationals is an urgent problem which must be addressed.
“Current gaps in our legal system are allowing known offenders to travel abroad to target vulnerable children in less developed countries, and this is simply not acceptable," she added.
The research found that civil orders are not being used effectively to stop offenders visiting other countries where poverty and corruption have left children vulnerable. Civil orders placed on sex offenders rarely include travel restrictions, meaning many known offenders can still go abroad to abuse children.
The issue was highlighted with the high profile case of Paul Gadd, known as Gary Glitter, who went to Asia to abuse young girls after being convicted of possessing indecent images of children in the UK.
Abusers often preyed on vulnerable children and families, masquerading as philanthropists and providing money to establish trust. There is also a risk of sexual abuse to children during disasters, for example, it was reported that Oxfam staff sexually exploited children in Haiti following an earthquake in 2010.
Only around 0.2 percent of the 58,637 registered sex offenders in England and Wales had their foreign travel restricted as of 31 March 2018. Very small numbers of civil orders restricting travel are made: only 11 Sexual Harm Prevention Orders to this effect were made in 2017/2018 and as at March 2019 there were only six Sexual Risk Orders in place with a restriction in place about travel.
The disclosure and barring system, including the International Child Protection Certificate which overseas institutions can request when recruiting British nationals, is confusing, inconsistent and in need of reform, the research adds.
The IICSA also calls for greater awareness among police forces of Section 72 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which allows residents of England and Wales accused of sexually abusing children abroad to be prosecuted here.
Some abusers operate in networks which share tips and strategies to avoid detection. Richard Huckle, who was known in the press as ‘Britain’s worst paedophile’ after being convicted of 71 counts of serious sexual assaults while working in Malaysia, developed a network like this.
The National Crime Agency estimates some 80,000 people in the UK may present a sexual threat to children online, increasingly through live-streaming. The live-streaming of abuse, as well as exploitation tourism involving local and foreign offenders, are linked to illicit markets in child trafficking found in poorer parts of the world.
The report recommends:
- A national plan of action. The Home Office should coordinate the development of a national plan of action addressing child sexual abuse and exploitation overseas by UK nationals and residents of England and Wales.
- Civil orders – list of countries. The Home Office should bring forward legislation providing for the establishment and maintenance by the National Crime Agency of a list of countries where children are considered to be at high risk of sexual abuse and exploitation from overseas offenders. This list should be kept under regular review.
- Disclosure and barring – extending the geographical reach of the Disclosure and Barring Service scheme. The Home Office should introduce legislation permitting the Disclosure and Barring Service to provide enhanced certificates to UK nationals and residents of England and Wales applying for (i) work or volunteering with UK-based organisations, where the recruitment decision is taken outside the UK or (ii) work or volunteering with organisations based outside the UK, in each case where the work or volunteering would be a regulated activity if in the UK.
- Disclosure and barring – extending the mandatory nature of disclosure and barring. The Home Office should introduce legislation making it mandatory for: (a) all UK nationals and residents of England and Wales to provide a prospective employer overseas with an enhanced DBS certificate before undertaking work with children overseas which if in the UK would be a regulated activity and (b) UK government departments and agencies to require their overseas partners to ensure that UK nationals and residents of England and Wales obtain an enhanced DBS certificate before undertaking work with children overseas which if in the UK would be a regulated activity.
- Disclosure and barring – guidance. The Home Office should ensure explanatory guidance is issued, providing clarity to recruiting organisations and individuals concerning the use of the Disclosure and Barring Service scheme for work and volunteering outside the UK.
Alexis Jay concluded: "The Panel and I hope this report and its recommendations will lead the authorities to tighten their grip on abusers who seek to exploit some of the most vulnerable children in the world.”
Children Outside the United Kingdom Phase 2

Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

Chancellor reveals one year Spending Review to focus on response to Covid

22/10/2020
Chancellor Rishi Sunak

The chancellor has announced that he will conduct a one-year Spending Review in order to concentrate on the government’s response to COVID-19.

The chancellor and the prime minister have decided to conduct a one-year Spending Review, setting department’s resource and capital budgets for 2021-22, and Devolved Administration’s block grants for the same period. The [...]

Read Full Story

Spending Review needs to restore lost £1.7 billion in early help funding for councils

21/10/2020

Local authorities are preparing for a surge in demand for children’s services after many children ‘disappeared’ from view during the lockdown restrictions introduced in a bid to try and prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

The Local Government Association said councils are bracing themselves for a rise in referrals for support that would have normally been [...]

Read Full Story

Children’s services were struggling financially before Covid, warns leading charities

21/10/2020
Javid Khan, CEO Barnardo's

Local authorities had to spend an additional £136 million on children’s social care between March and July, it has emerged.

New analysis from five leading children’s charities, Action for Children, Barnardo’s, the Children’s Society, NCB and the NSPCC, submitted to the Treasury, reveals that even before the pandemic hit these services were facing [...]

Read Full Story
Children First is an online resource for professionals working with children presented by WillisPalmer, providing you with the latest news, features and interviews.
Subscribe Today
Delivering a diverse, reliable range of services to children and their families across the UK
D1, Parkside, Knowledge Gateway, Nesfield Road, Colchester, Essex CO4 3ZL
Contact Us
closechevron-downbars linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram