Child abusers will face more time behind bars after the Government 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 horrific crimes and today confirmed amendments to deliver ‘Tony’s Law’ would be tabled to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

Paula Hudgell Tony’s mum said:

“We are delighted that Tony’s Law is being backed by the government. It’s been our hope since those who abused our son were jailed in 2018 that more could be done to protect other children, the most vulnerable members of our society.

I can’t thank the public enough for the support they have shown through this nearly four year campaign, but especially thanks to Tom Tugendhat who has worked tirelessly with me, also my friend Julia Roberts a court reporter and my friends and family it was definitely a team effort.

This is for Tony and all the babies and children that suffered or lost their lives at the hands of their abusers.”


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