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Neglect neglected in the Crime and Courts Act

Date:24 MAY 2013

Christine Piper

Brunel University    

Section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 originally drafted in the 1860s sets out the offence often referred to as ‘child cruelty'.  Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss in her Foreword to The Criminal Law and Child Neglect: an independent analysis and proposal for reform (2013 Action for Children) argues that s1 is now ‘unfit for purpose'. The Advisory Group of independent experts chaired by Laura Hoyano who produced this report drafted a new offence of child maltreatment designed to address the exclusion of emotional and developmental neglect and to remove the confusing terminology of the current offence.  An attempt to introduce the clause in the Crime and Courts Bill was aborted in February 2013 to allow time for the government to consider any evidence to counter its belief that the courts and CPS are interpreting the offence ‘in the light of contemporary circumstances' (Education Committee 2012-13 HC 993) and that is sufficient.

This article examines the arguments for reform in the context of...

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