MP calls for law change on sex offenders changing names and gender

Telford MP Lucy Allan has called for a change in the law so that convicted sex offenders cannot change their names to evade the law.

Lucy Allan in the House of Commons
Lucy Allan in the House of Commons

Speaking in a parliamentary debate, Ms Allan told fellow MPs about one of her constituents who was sexually abused by a man who was convicted and then changed his name.

"I want to tell the story of my constituent Joanna," she told a House of Commons debate.

"Joanna is an amazing young woman. She is bright, she is brave and she is beautiful. Joanna is a student paramedic and has just started a family. She has her whole life ahead of her.

"Joanna wants her story to be told, because for too long there was silence. It is by speaking out that we secure justice for victims and survivors such as Joanna, and we must listen to their voices."

For much of her young life, Joanna was a victim of serious sexual abuse.

"She was the victim of a manipulative, depraved man called Clive Bundy," said Ms Allan.

"The scale and nature of the abuse is beyond comprehension; it was discovered when the police identified sexual images online. Clive Bundy was arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison."

After seven years Clive Bundy is up for parole.

But Clive Bundy has changed their name by deed poll, and their gender identity.

Ms Allan said: "Under the law, Clive Bundy no longer exists. Clive Bundy has chosen the name of Claire Fox.

"Under section 22 of the Gender Recognition Act 2004, we cannot say even that this is so.

"Joanna’s fear is that this new identity erases Clive Bundy, erases the terrible harm that he did, erases Joanna’s experience.

"She fears that the world can refuse to acknowledge that Clive Bundy and his terrible crimes ever even existed—that we can just pretend that the trauma she still suffers, the trauma Clive Bundy caused her and others, did not happen, because he does not exist."

Ms Allan added: "What is certain is that Claire Fox will be afforded enhanced rights of privacy that should never, ever be afforded to a serious child sex offender. I believe in redemption, I believe in rehabilitation, but that does not and cannot mean that we rewrite the past.

"It does not mean that these truly horrific crimes simply never happened. Joanna wants the names of Clive Bundy and Claire Fox to be linked on official records because Clive Bundy and Claire Fox are the same person.

"The law requires us all to pretend that that is not so: the law requires us to pretend that a convicted serial child sex offender, Clive Bundy, no longer exists. The impact on Joanna is deeply distressing. She speaks of her past coming back to haunt her, of the constant fear, of always looking over her shoulder, and of her anxiety that her new life and her young family could be under threat and that she is, in her words, “once again that young abused scared little girl—that no one protected.”

"We are told this is a loophole in the Disclosure and Barring Service which can perhaps be fixed, but I am going to call it what it is. This is a grotesque injustice to victims - victims whom we failed and victims whom we will fail again if we allow the law to pretend that the crimes of sexual offenders like Clive Bundy can be expunged by deed poll and never referred to again."

She added: "The question of whether Claire Fox is a continuing threat to society is a matter for the Parole Board, and this is an issue that I will be pursuing with the relevant minister through separate avenues, but today’s debate is about whether sex offenders can erase their identities.

"The rights of victims and the vulnerable matter more than the rights of serial child sex offenders. We all know that that is the case."

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