Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping today backed calls for new legislation to pardon sexual abuse victims forced to break the law by their abusers.
The PCC said he wholeheartedly supported Sammy’s Law – a campaign launched by abuse victim Sammy Woodhouse to introduce legislation to absolve teenage girls of the crimes they were forced to carry out by paedophiles.
Sammy, who was 14 when she was targeted by the ringleader of a Rotherham abuse gang, was forced to commit a series of offences during her horrific ordeal for which she received a criminal record.
The abuse survivor, who bravely waived her right to anonymity to campaign for other victims, has now written to Home Secretary Amber Rudd requesting a royal pardon for other young victims who were lured into crime at the influence of their abusers.
The move has been backed by Bedfordshire Chief Constable Jon Boutcher and Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway.
Commenting on the campaign, Mr Tipping said: “It is vital victims of abuse gain the full trust of the organisations whose job it is to protect them from harm. Removing the fear of prosecution or criminal charges for those victims forced to commit crime by their abusers will encourage many more survivors to come forward instead of suffering in silence which is crucial for their future safety.
“Sammy’s Law will send a clear message to victims of abuse that they are not responsible or to blame for the horrific ordeals they have faced and will also help to prevent abusers from using this sickening strategy as a further means of controlling their victim.
“I hope the Home Secretary takes seriously this campaign and progresses this proposed legislation change through Parliament for the benefit of other brave victims like Sammy.”
Victims of child sexual exploitation are often encouraged to commit crimes by their abusers including drugs trafficking to stop them from reporting their experiences to police.
It is believed the current system has prevented victims from seeking help for fear they will be charged with the offences they have committed while being groomed by paedophiles.
More than 1,400 children were sexual abused in Rotherham from 1997 to 2013 in what has become one of the biggest sexual exploitation scandals exposed in the UK.
Last year, eight men who sexually abused three teenage girls in the town between 1999 and 2003, were jailed at Sheffield Crown Court after being convicted of 16 charges including rape, false imprisonment and indecent assault.
The judge said their victims had been "targeted, sexualised and subjected to degrading and violent acts."
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Posted on Tuesday 3rd October 2017