Documents to download

Guidance provided to Parole Board panel members already advises they consider any failure or refusal by an offender to disclose information such as the location of victims’ remains and identity of child victims in indecent images. The Prisoners (Disclosure of Information about Victims) Bill is government legislation which would turn this into a statutory obligation.

The bill follows a campaign by Marie McCourt, the mother of Helen McCourt who was murdered in 1988. Ian Simms, the man convicted of her murder, has never revealed the whereabouts of her body. Certain provisions in the bill have been referred to as ‘Helen’s Law’. The bill also follows the case of nursery worker Vanessa George, who was convicted of the abuse of children and of making indecent images of her victims. Ms George has never disclosed the identities of the children involved, adding to the distress caused to the families of those at the nursery where she was employed.

The bill completed all its stages in the House of Commons on 3 March 2020. It received cross-party support. The provisions in the bill would apply to prisoners serving a life sentence for murder or manslaughter, and for those serving an extended determinate sentence (or a similar predecessor sentence) for manslaughter or for taking or making an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child. The Government amended the bill at committee stage to ensure it would also apply to cases where the Parole Board is making a public protection decision about a life prisoner convicted of similar qualifying offences of making indecent images of children.

The obligations to take such non-disclosures into account would apply to all such sentences, including those imposed prior to this bill coming into force. However, the obligations would only apply to decisions about the first release of an offender. Subsequent releases following a recall to prison would not be affected. The provisions of the bill would apply to England and Wales only.


Documents to download

Related posts

  • Motion to annul regulations to clarify when bailiffs can recover VAT on enforcement fees from debtors

    Secondary legislation governing when VAT is recoverable on the fees of enforcement agents, formerly known as bailiffs, has recently changed. The Government says the changes clarify that in some circumstances enforcement agents can take control of goods worth the cash equivalent of the VAT on their enforcement fees from debtors. A Lords motion to stop the changes will be discussed on 13 January 2022.

    Motion to annul regulations to clarify when bailiffs can recover VAT on enforcement fees from debtors
  • Financial fraud and vulnerable people

    On 2 December 2021, the House of Lords is scheduled to hold a short debate on a motion tabled by Lord Sharkey (Liberal Democrat). He will ask the Government what steps it is taking to protect vulnerable people from financial fraud. This article provides information about the various types of fraud committed and the scale of the problem; which groups are more vulnerable to fraud; and what is being done to tackle the crime.

    Financial fraud and vulnerable people
  • Detention of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

    British-Iranian dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been detained in Iran since 2016. The UK Government has called her detention arbitrary and has lobbied the Iranian Government for her release. Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, and her MP, Tulip Siddiq, have called on the Government to do more to secure her freedom.

    Detention of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe