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Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to reply to the letter to him dated 14 October from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton, with regard to Mr. Amjed Abu-Jazar. 
Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to reply to the letter to him dated 25 September from the right hon. Member Manchester, Gorton, with regard to the National Asylum Support Service. 
Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to reply to the letter to him dated 14 October from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton, with regard to Mihai Tudoreslu. 
Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to reply to the letter to him dated 16 October from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton, with regard to Mrs. Inder Kavr Singh Taz. 
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Hilary Benn: The Home Office was not a party to this action, which was brought against the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). Under the terms of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme approved by Parliament, the CICA and the complementary, independent Appeals Panel are exclusively responsible for the administration of the scheme, the interpretation of the scheme rules and the determination of individual applications. Ministers do not comment on, or intervene in, the administering bodies' handling of individual cases.
However, I understand from the CICA that they have not yet received a copy of the judgment in writing. They will decide what action might be appropriate when they have had a chance to consider the written judgment in detail, and whether there are wider issues for the overall running of the scheme in which the Home Department needs to be involved.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the likely impact of custody plus on the number of people sentenced to a period of imprisonment of under 12 months in each of the next five years. 
In modelling the potential impact of the new sentences, it has been assumed that the number of offenders receiving custody plus under the new framework will be broadly similar to the numbers of offenders sentenced to imprisonment of under 12 months now but that a small number of those offenders currently receiving sentences of under 12 months would receive sentences of over 12 months in the new framework, while some would receive community sentences. In addition we have assumed that a quarter of those currently receiving sentences of between one and three months would receive custody minus. The Government will encourage sentencers to use penalties other than custody wherever appropriate.
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Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the outcome was of the study that considered expanding Victim Support's helpline to 24 hours, referred to in Annex 1 of the joint Home Office/Women's Unit publication, XLiving Without Fear: An Integrated Approach to Tackling Violence Against Women. 
Hilary Benn: Staff and volunteers manning Victim Support's Victim Support line provide support and information to anyone affected by crime. The phone lines are open from 9 am9 pm Monday to Friday, 9 am7 pm weekends, and 9 am5pm on bank holidays. Calls are charged at local rates and are confidential.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many drug treatment and testing orders have been issued; at what cost; and how many of the orders have been successfully completed. 
|Number of Drug Treatment and Testing Orders (DTTOs) Issued between 1 October 200031 October 2002(30)||Orders completed at 31 October 2002)||The number of orders revoked for non-compliance.||Current caseload (at 31 October 2002)||Orders revoked for other reasons|
(30) Latest date for which figures are available
(31) Note this figure does not incoude the caseload from the pilots.
The current drop-out rate for non-compliance at 39 per cent. is not unexpectedly high. The DTTO is a tough and demanding community sentence that is aimed at serious problem drug misusers who commit crime to fund their habit. It was expected, given the intensity of the order, that a number of offenders would fail to last
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Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The United Kingdom (UK) has a strategy to counter drug trafficking through end-to-end enforcement policies, concentrating on class A drugs as the drugs which cause greatest harm. In doing this we work closely with other European Union (EU) countries in preventing drugs from entering both the EU and the UK. We have drug liaison officers in most EU member states and have provided assistance to EU candidate countries in their development of drug strategies and enforcement capabilities. We are planning to post drug liaison officers to some of these countries too.
The UK played a major role in the mid-term review of the EU Drugs Action Plan, which sets out the EU Drug Strategy. The review concluded that there is a need for more concerted action at EU level on the most significant drugs and this should be done to tighter deadlines. It makes clear the need for continuing work in Afghanistan to eliminate the poppy crop, an area in which the UK has been co-ordinating international efforts.
The UK has co-sponsored with other member states an EU Framework Decision on joint investigation teams, which provides a formal basis for closer co-operation between EU member states' criminal investigation authorities. The UK is also pushing hard for an agreement on a Framework Decision which will establish common definitions for offences and penalties for trafficking drugs and precursor chemicals in the EU.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will undertake a study of the proportion of prisoners who are positive for hepatitis C (a) on reception and (b) on discharge. 
Hilary Benn [holding answer 4 December 2002]: The Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) undertook an unlinked, anonymised survey of the prevalence of blood borne viruses among prisoners in England in 199798. This indicated that nine per cent. of adult men, 11 per cent. of women and 0.6 per cent. of male young offenders had evidence of previous exposure to Hepatitis C. The need for further studies in this area is kept under review.
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