Helen Reece

Helen Reece

Leading academic and barrister has defended the rights of paedophiles and other sex offenders to be able to adopt.

Helen Reece, a reader in law at the London School of Economics has called upon Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to get rid of rules that automatically ban sex offenders from being eligible to adopt.

In an attempt to justify this position, Miss Reece, wrote in the respected Child and Family Law Quarterly: “..Despite growing public concern over paedophilia, the numbers of child sex murders are very low” and claimed that reoffending rates were low.

Ministers are currently conducting an ongoing review into the Vetting and Barring Scheme, introduced following the 2002 Soham murders, claiming that the rules are too heavy-handed.

Miss Reece added: “There is no reason why all sex offenders should not be considered as potentially suitable to adopt or foster children, or work with them.
“The Vetting and Barring Scheme and other legislative measures single out sex offenders for unfair special treatment and they destroy the principle that a prisoner pays his or her debt by serving their sentence before re-entering society on equal terms.”
An individual can find themselves on the Barred list if they are convicted of a sexual or violent offence, or one involving the mistreatment of a child.

The academic had previously argued that rape victims should not be given anonymity.

In response, a Home Office spokesman said: “It is safe to say that the vetting review will not be considering allowing paedophiles to adopt. It wouldn’t exactly go down well with the public.

“The review is very much focused on seeing whether the rules have gone too far in stopping normal volunteering with children, while continuing to carry out criminal records checks on people in sensitive posts, such as in the NHS.”

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