Government needs to do more to clamp down on transnational child abuse by UK nationals

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (‘IICSA’) has issued its report about the use of civil orders, disclosure and barring and extra territorial prosecutions of child sex offenders.

The IICSA report has issued recommendations to the Government which include to ‘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, involving input from all lead governmental agencies in the field.’

ECPAT UK, instructed DPG partner Zubier Yazdani assisted by Mark Hylands. They instructed Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Keina Yoshida at Doughty Street Chambers. The hearings in this case study took place in February 2019 with the report being released on 09/01/2020. ECPAT UK was instrumental in persuading the Inquiry to expand the scope of the case study to include examination of the use of the extra territorial prosecution powers under s.72 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Zubier Yazdani, of Deighton Pierce Glynn, acting on behalf of ECAPT UK, said: The Inquiry’s examination of the terrible phenomenon of UK nationals abusing children abroad rightly focused on the weak response by the UK authorities and the underutilisation of existing powers to address such offending. As a direct result of this case study the NCA has revised its guidance on the use of powers under s.72 and there has been better training provided to police forces. There is much more to be done.

Debbie Beadle, Director of Programmes at ECPAT UK, said: “We welcome the recommendations of the Inquiry, particularly regarding the need for a national plan of action to tackle child sexual abuse by UK nationals, the need for greater use of post-conviction travel restrictions for offenders and greater awareness among law enforcement agencies of extra-territorial criminal powers to bring offenders to justice.”
“We hope that by bringing these institutional failings to light, the UK can become a world leader in tackling the abuse of vulnerable children globally, and that child victims abroad are no longer ‘under the radar’ of authorities.”

Find more detailed ECPAT UK press release here.