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Stafford sex abuse victim in campaign to ban sex offenders from going abroad

By Richard Guttridge | Stafford | Crime | Published:

A father who endured horrific abuse as a child has launched a campaign for the law to be changed to stop sex offenders from travelling abroad.

Darren Street with wife Lisa

Darren Street, originally from Stafford, was preyed upon by convicted paedophile Peter Edensor and says he still bears the mental scars of what happened to him as a boy.

He now wants the Government to change the law to prevent offenders from going abroad once they have served their sentence as he fears it is too easy for them to target vulnerable children overseas.

Mr Street, who now has a family and runs his own business, believes the current system is "lax" and many sex offenders are slipping out of the country.

Paedophile Peter Edensor targeted boys

The childhood victim acknowledges he is entering into controversial territory and admits he expects to receive questions about the human rights considerations of banning someone who has served their time from travelling abroad, effectively trapping them in the UK.

But the 45-year-old says the duty of care of the Government has to children around the world outweighs the rights of those who have been convicted of such serious offences.

Mr Street, who now lives on the Isle of Wight so he doesn't have to "walk the same ground" as his now-free abuser, has started a petition which he hopes will attract more than 10,000 signatures, the benchmark for Government consideration.

The father-of-five was among boys targeted by predator Edensor, a former Staffordshire market worker, during the 1980s.

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'The system is too lax'

It was reported last year that courts handed out 15,355 Sexual Harm Prevention Orders to offenders since 2015 but only 27 of those had foreign travel restrictions imposed.

It has led to comparisons with known football hooligans who are routinely banned from travelling abroad during major tournaments, and prompted questions why the same process is not followed with sex offenders.

Darren is calling for a change in the law

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There are believed to be around 500 sex offenders convicted in the UK who are now abroad.

Mr Street said: "I hear about so many paedophiles going abroad. The system is too lax.

"The UK operates on the Schengen sharing of information system but offenders go to countries like Taiwan and Vietnam where they have got to notify their offender manager that they are going abroad.

"I want to try and raise awareness. I want the Government to really consider changing the law so when someone is put on the sex offenders register the passport is automatically deemed null and void.

"If someone is on the sex offenders register for five years it means a five-year ban, if it's lifetime then it's a lifetime ban. If they have got family living abroad, tough. If they can't behave here what are the chances they are going to behave abroad.

"We have a duty as a country to protect children abroad and those in countries who are vulnerable, where children are sold for sex or who are desperate and sell themselves for sex.

"The system is relying too much on trust and for offenders to report that they are going abroad?"

Lifetime ban

Mr Street said he was angry for a long time but now wants to use his ordeal to encourage other victims to come forward and protect those at risk.

Asked about the sensitivities of restricting someone's travel after they have served their time, Mr Street said paedophiles did not deserve sympathy, and that the threat of not being able to travel could even act as a deterrent and stop them carrying out their sickening crimes.

"If a judge hands a lifetime on the sex offenders register that should be a lifetime ban, so be it. As a victim from the age of 11 to 15 it destroyed my childhood," Mr Street said.

"I try to create memories of my childhood but even now I'm 45 years old I'm still living a day-to-day sentence.

"If it deters people, because they think they are risking losing their passport, that can only be a good thing."

Mr Street's petition can be viewed at petition.parliament.uk/petitions/269403

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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