UK to issue lifetime ban on sex offenders legally changing name, gender

UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman announced a plan to enact a lifetime ban on sex offenders changing their name or gender at the Conservative Party Conference 2023 on Tuesday.

The goal of this is to effectively close a long-standing loophole that has allowed convicts to evade the sex offense register.

“We will bring forward legislation to prevent registered sex offenders from changing their identity," she stated. "We will work to strengthen background checks so that they can catch undisclosed changes of identity.”

“And let me tell you something," she continued, "I don’t care if anyone thinks this is interfering with their human rights. It’s time to worry less about the rights of sexual predators and more about the rights of victims.”

She received overwhelming support and applause from the audience.

Currently, convicted sex offenders are required by law to notify authors of a name or gender change within three days, however, thousands a year do not. There were around 12,000 prosecutions for sex offenders failing to do so between January 2019 and June 2022.

The Times reports that in multiple cases, men who were convicted offenders and banned for life from working with children would use their change of name to receive employment at schools and continue their abuse.

With the proposed ban, the Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) will automatically be alerted when government agencies such as the HMRC, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), HM Passport Office and the DVLA receive a request with an offender’s details to change their name or gender and they will be prosecuted, according to government sources.

The Home Office is working through a plan for combatting any potential loopholes under the ban as well before introducing the legislation such as offenders deleting their accounts with government agencies without requesting to update their details.

The campaign for the ban was spearheaded by The Safeguarding Alliance and named “Della’s Law” after Della Wright, a sex abuse victim who endured having a known sex offender as her primary caregiver in her home as a child.

The chief executive of The Safeguarding Alliance praised the announcement from Braverman, stating, “No longer will the rights of a sex offender be given priority over the protection of societies most vulnerable.”

“This change could not have come quick enough and is the biggest change to safeguarding legislation to date. We would like to thank everyone who has supported the Safeguarding Alliance and Della’s Law over the years,” she concluded.

Before Braverman took the stage Tuesday, government sources were concerned that the Equalities Act would prohibit the ban on changing personal details in cases of requests out of a desire to change gender or for religious reasons, which Braverman seemingly addressed in her speech. The campaign for the ban has received bipartisan support in the UK government.

Image: Title: Braverman handcuffs


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