Sarah Champion MP Secures Commitment to Ratify the Lanzarote Convention.

Following months of campaigning, Sarah Champion, Member of Parliament for Rotherham, has today welcomed a commitment from the Government to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (the Lanzarote Convention).1

British sex offenders who abuse children overseas are rarely prosecuted in British courts. Among other measures, the Lanzarote Convention reinforces the need for the Government to take responsibility for prosecuting UK nationals.

In response to Ms Champion’s recent Parliamentary question, the Foreign Office revealed that from 2013 to 2017 there were 361 requests from UK nationals for consular assistance after being arrested for child sex offences.2,3 However, embassies are usually only informed of an arrest if the individual requests it, so it is likely that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Following the debate,4 Ms Champion said:

“The potential scale of these crimes is frightening. Ratifying the Lanzarote Convention is a key step in the Government taking responsibility for prosecuting UK nationals who carry out these abhorrent crimes.”

Notes:

  1. The Lanzarote Convention: https://www.coe.int/en/web/children/lanzarote-convention
  2. https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2018-03-12/132092
  3. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/britons-arrested-child-sex-offences-five-years-figures-paedophiles-foreign-office-a8270726.html
  4. Westminster Hall debate on the Work of the Council of Europe, 18/4/18
Alexander Guest