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Posted on 4 June 2024

Registered Sex offenders Banned from Name Change Under New Law

Posted in Advice

The Government has this week confirmed an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill. This will prevent registered sex offenders from changing their name by deed poll. They were previously able to do so to alter official documents such as a passport or driving licence. The Criminal Justice Bill will return to the House of Commons on 15th May 2024.

More than 700 registered sex offenders went missing from police records between 2019 and 2021. The law states that a registered sex offender can currently change their name but must notify the police that they have done so. Almost 1500 registered sex offenders notified police of name changes, but more than 700 people had not, and had used it as a way to disappear. 

Campaign group The Safeguarding Alliance have lobbied for a change in the law for years. In order to push the government to consider this, survivors of abuse have shared their stories, being forced to relive the trauma, to try and protect the most vulnerable in the future.

In a statement released on 13 May 2024 The Safeguarding Alliance has said: 

“we welcome the news that legislation is being brought forward to prevent sex offenders exploiting this legal loophole.”

A major force behind the campaign has been one abuse survivor, Della Wright. The new law is being called Della’s Law by some. Della Wright suffered sexual abuse as a child. Her abuser repeatedly changed his name attempting to avoid justice. She has used her voice as a survivor to push the government for change. 

The Labour MP, Sarah Champion, has lobbied for the change in the law to remove the loophole. Survivors of abuse have used their knowledge and experiences to push the government to make a change. Sarah Champion says (of the current system) that it “makes a mockery of all the name based safeguarding schemes, such as Clare’s Law (the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme)…when all you need to do to avoid detection is change your name.” Sarah Champion’s statement also pays tribute to Della Wright for her campaigning. 

Survivors of abuse deserve to be heard. This law provides validation to them and acknowledges their suffering. The government funded Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme allows survivors of abuse, as victims of violence crime to seek some degree of redress. 

To contact a specialist in dealing with criminal injury claims at Winston Solicitors either call us on 0113 320 5000 or email @email