The Domestic, Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Act 2012 came into force on 2nd July 2012. The Act extends the offence of ‘causing or allowing the death of a child’ to ‘causing or allowing serious physical harm’.
The 2012 Act is intended to fill a recognised gap in the law in cases where, although it is clear that serious injuries short of death suffered by a child or vulnerable adult must have been sustained at the hands of one of a limited number of members of the household, there is insufficient evidence to point to the particular person responsible. For example; the case of a five-month-old baby who suffered a brain haemorrhage and fractured skull and nobody was charged with the abuse.
The legal loophole which has allowed hundreds of child abusers to escape prosecution has now been closed and anyone who deliberately causes or allows serious physical harm to a child or vulnerable adult faces up to 10 years in prison.