§ Mr. Peter Bruinvels
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what is the recommended and average sentence for (a) child abduction and (b) child kidnapping; and if he will make a statement;
(2) how many people have been convicted of (i) child abduction and (ii) child kidnapping in each of the past five years and the current year to date.
§ Mr. Mellor
The maximum penalty for child abduction, for merely child stealing, is seven years508W imprisonment, for kidnapping life imprisonment and for abduction of an unmarried girl two years imprisonment. The Child Abduction Act 1984 introduced from October 1984 the offence of child abduction in place of child stealing. The sentences imposed within these maxima for the courts to decide. Information on sentencing for offences of child stealing—offence classification 13—abduction—offence classification 25—and kidnapping, etc. — offence classification 36 covering kidnapping, hijacking, and false imprisonment — is published annually in 'Criminal Statistics, England and Wales, Supplementay Tables'. In the latest issue for 1983, tables 1.1(A) and 2.1(A) give convictions and sentences and tables 2.3–2.5 lengths of custodial sentences. Information on convictions is summarised in the following table.
Offenders found guilty of certain offence England and Wales Number of persons Offence 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 Child stealing 15 10 9 7 19 Abduction 27 26 21 17 19 of which, abduction of unmarried girl under 16 19 11 8 9 6 Kidnapping 22 39 44 45 40