Luke Pollard, MP for Plymouth Sutton & Devonport, has won significant concessions from the Government to improve support for victims of serious crime as part of his campaign to tighten the law following the release of child abuser, Vanessa George. Luke made the case for a change in the law to prevent release of child abusers who refuse to name their child victims.
This comes after the release last year of Vanessa George, who sexually abused babies and toddlers where she worked, in Little Ted’s nursery in Plymouth. George refused to name the children she abused, causing significant pain and anguish for the families in Plymouth of the children she is suspected of abusing. The Parole Board still decided to release George from prison in spite of this because there was no legal reason to prevent her release because of her failure to disclose this information.
Luke Pollard said:
“The crimes of Vanessa George are disgusting and have caused significant pain to families in Plymouth. I am pleased that working with victims we are on the cusp of changing the law for the better. Very soon the Parole Board will be able to take into account a prisoner’s refusal to disclose the name of child abuse victims when considering release. If they had that power before, I am convinced Vanessa George would still be behind bars, and that is why this change is so important.
The concession from Ministers today that they will roll out a new nationwide victims contact system to keep victims informed is long overdue and a huge win for this campaign. The opt-out system will ensure families are informed first about any release of the person who abused their child and won’t have to find out about it from Facebook. None of these changes will undo the hurt and pain caused by Vanessa George but they will help ensure other families will not go through what families in Plymouth had to.
I want to thank the family members who have worked on this campaign. As their children are still at school, I cannot name each of them, but I want to thank them for their courage in speaking out and determination to see the law changed. We are nearly there now and I am hopeful that these measures will become law by Christmas with improvements in communication starting to roll out from the New Year.”
Justice Minister Chris Philp said also in the House of Commons:
“I want to pay tribute to… the Honourable Member for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport [Luke Pollard] many of whose constituents were abused by Vanessa George. Without the tireless work from the Member for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport this bill would not be progressing through Parliament. So I extend to them once again my congratulations and thanks.
“This House, in passing this legislation sends out a clear message to [the abusers] that their behaviour is abhorrent, it is unacceptable, and we stand united against it.”