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Tougher penalties for child cruelty

The Ministry of Justice has confirmed plans to increase the maximum penalties for a range of cruelty offences.

Under the changes, anyone who causes or allows the death of a child or vulnerable adult in their care will face up to life imprisonment – rather than the current 14-year maximum. The offences of causing or allowing serious physical harm to a child, and cruelty to a person under 16, will also incur tougher maximum penalties – increasing from 10 to 14 years respectively.

It follows the tireless campaigning of the family of Tony Hudgell to see longer sentences for these crimes. As a baby, Tony was left severely disabled after suffering abuse at the hands of his birth parents, who both received 10 years in prison. Ministers are determined to ensure punishments fit the severity of these crimes and have confirmed that amendments to deliver 'Tony's Law' would be tabled to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

For the announcement, click here. To follow progress of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, click here.