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Bar on offenders

The article "Early reviews mooted for sex offenders" (TES, September 14), makes a fundamental error about proposals for automatic barring under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act. These proposals do not discriminate between homosexuals and heterosexuals in the way you suggest. They are even handed in their application to offences committed against children.

The offences of buggery and indecency between males were repealed by the Sexual Offences Act 2003. In relation to those offences, the effect of the existing List 99 automatic barring arrangements, on which the Government consulted last autumn, is limited to offences where the sexual partner was a child and either was under the age of 16 or had not consented. There are new equivalent offences in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, and these too currently lead to automatic barring.

We intend to follow the same arrangements for automatic barring under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act.

Kevin Brennan MP

Parliamentary under secretary of state for Children, Schools and Families

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