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Parental Responsibility To Be Automatically Suspended For Child Rapists

A recent amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill will mean that people who have committed the most serious sexual offences against a child will now have their parental responsibility suspended in respect of their own children. 

The new law will be implemented through the Criminal Justice Bill and will apply in all cases where a perpetrator is convicted of raping a child under the age of 13.

This will mean that when the perpetrator is sentenced, their parental responsibility for their child will automatically be suspended.  

Parental responsibility refers to “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent has in respect to the child and his property”. Biological mothers have automatic parental responsibility from birth as well as married fathers or those who are unmarried but are named on the birth certificate. Parental responsibility can also be obtained through various Court orders. 

Essentially, this change means anyone who is convicted will no longer be able to make and be involved in important decisions in the child’s life, such as schooling and religion. The innocent parent will not have to go through the expense and emotional ordeal of court proceedings to remove the perpetrator’s parental responsibility. If the perpetrator wants to reinstate their parental responsibility, they will need to make a formal application to the Court and prove why restoring parental responsibility is in the best interests of the child. 

The change comes only 7 months after the introduction of Jade’s Law in October 2023 which amended the Victim and Prisoners Bill whereby the Court’s powers were extended to automatically strip parental responsibility of anyone convicted of killing a partner or ex-partner with whom they share a child. 

For further information on how we can support you through similar matters, please visit our family law page. We have a team of solicitors with specialist experience of advising clients where there has been domestic abuse.