HC Deb 08 December 1949 vol 470 c2068
30. Mr. Channon

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many convictions for cruelty to children there have been in the last six or twelve months for which figures are available; and how these figures compare with the figures before the war.

Mr. Ede

In 1938 12 persons were found guilty at assizes and quarter sessions of offences of cruelty to or neglect of children and 932 persons were found guilty of such offences at magistrates' courts. The corresponding figures for 1948 were 36 and 1,004. In the first nine months of 1949 the total number of persons found guilty of these offences was 642, as compared with 804 in the first nine months of 1948.

Mr. Channon

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that these figures justify a change or, at least, a tightening up of the law, and is he not also aware that many people think that the sentences passed on offenders are in many cases much too lenient?

Mr. Ede

I understand we are to have an opportunity shortly of discussing this matter. Questions like that can be better answered in the course of Debate than at Question time.