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7 Jan 2004 : Column 414W—continued

Type-45 Destroyer

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what major design modifications have been made to the hull of the Type 45 destroyer in the past two years. [145643]

Mr. Ingram: None.


Corporate Killing

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether it is his policy that the forthcoming Bill on corporate killing should encompass pharmacovigilance. [145220]

Paul Goggins: The Government is committed to reforming the law on involuntary manslaughter to make it more effective in convicting companies and other organisations of manslaughter where a death has occurred due to systemic management failure. We will publish our proposals in more detail in due course.

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Elder Abuse

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Government uses a formal definition of elder abuse. [145630]

Dr. Ladyman: I have been asked to reply.

Statutory guidance, "No secrets", issued by the Home Office and the Department of Health in 2000 defines abuse of vulnerable adults as a violation of an individual's human and civil rights by any other person or persons. It goes on to say that abuse may consist of a single act or repeated acts and can manifest itself as physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, financial or material abuse, neglect and acts of omission, and discriminatory abuse.

Anti-social Behaviour Act

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the powers contained in the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 will be available to the police. [146312]

Ms Blears: All of the measures in the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 will need to be commenced by Order.

The first set of measures will be commenced under The Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 (Commencement No. 1 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2003 (Statutory Instrument 2003 Number 3300 (C.130)) made on 17 December 2003. This brings into force a number of the provisions of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 on 20 January 2004 and 27 February 2004.

Orders commencing the remaining measures in the Act will come into effect before the end of 2004. We will be publishing a detailed timetable giving the dates for the commencement of the remaining sections of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 shortly.

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what (a) services and (b) support the Government is providing to young female asylum seekers who are pregnant through (i) rape and (ii) sexual assault to (A) prevent their isolation and (B) aid their participation in community life; [144503]

Beverley Hughes: Anyone who has lodged a formal application for asylum in the United Kingdom is entitled to access health services. Health assessments are offered in induction centres to allow early identification of health care needs and in the event that an asylum seeker is dispersed, they will take with them a patient handheld record which health professionals can access. Asylum seekers housed in emergency accommodation pending dispersal also have access to health services. If an individual case is referred to and accepted by the Medical Foundation then they will normally be able to remain in London to access the specialist care that only the Foundation can provide.

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On arrival in a dispersal area, advice is provided to help applicants access local services, including medical facilities. In the case of a pregnant woman she will be given appropriate ante-natal care by the local Primary Care Trust. She will also be entitled to access those services which are generally available to women who have been raped. NASS's policy of dispersal according to language seeks to ensure that individuals are not isolated without any support from their community. We also encourage the active participation of asylum seekers in community life through, for example, our Purposeful Activities Scheme and through volunteer and mentoring schemes.

People who arrive in the United Kingdom alone and are under 18 will be treated as unaccompanied asylum seeking children and will be cared for by local social services departments. There they will be entitled to the same care for pregnancy and trauma as any other child in that situation.

In the event that an asylum seeker is raped or sexually assaulted in the United Kingdom then she is entitled to the same protection under the law as anyone else. She would also be offered access to available victim support and counselling services to deal with the consequences of an assault, such as trauma and pregnancy.

Domestic Violence

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the policies in place to tackle domestic violence. [146269]

Mr. Blunkett: This Government are determined to tackle domestic violence. As part of our overall strategy we have introduced the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Bill which will ensure an effective police response when victims report domestic violence, and make sure that the civil and criminal law offer the maximum protection to all victims to stop the violence recurring.

The main measures relating to domestic violence in the Bill are: making breach of a non-molestation order a criminal offence; making common assault an arrestable offence; enabling courts to impose restraining orders when sentencing for any offence, and on acquittal for any offence if the courts consider it necessary to protect the victim; extending access to non-molestation and occupation orders to same-sex couples and couples who have never cohabited or been married; and issuing guidance to agencies on holding multi-agency reviews following domestic violence homicides.

We recognise that legislation alone cannot deliver improvements to services that victims need. The Inter-Ministerial Group on Domestic Violence will, over the next two years and beyond, oversee a programme of work which focuses on prevention, protection and justice, and support. Among other things, we will be looking at education and tackling risk factors, improving the police and CPS handling of domestic violence cases, delivering new refuge places and providing help and advice to those victims who wish to stay in their own homes. Further details can be found in the Summary of Responses to "Safety and Justice: the

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Government's Proposals on Domestic Violence", copies of which can be found in the House of Commons Library.

Elderly Prisoners

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what plans he has to develop a national strategy to deal with elderly prisoners; [145625]

Paul Goggins: At the present time there are no plans for the Prison Service to put in place a separate national strategy for older prisoners. The current policy is to assess all prisoners' individual needs through sentence planning. This includes taking account of any requirements related to a prisoner's age.

There are no specific resources allocated to the rehabilitation of older prisoners. However through a system of sentence planning, the Prison Service ensures that all prisoners undertake activities necessary to reduce their risk to the public on release and provides any necessary resettlement support.

Gloucester Prison

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the reasons for admitting young offenders to HMP Gloucester following the announcement of closure of Ashfield Young Offender Institution. [144960]

Paul Goggins: The allocation of Young Adult Offenders (YAOs) aged 18–20, into Gloucester prison forms part of the ongoing programme to adjust the population mix of adult and young prisoners at a number of establishments. This is in response to the requirements of the Youth Justice Board for juvenile places and to increasing demand for spaces for adult male prisoners. This will be achieved through careful monitoring of population changes and the allocation of prisoners to establishments appropriate to their needs. It will also ensure maximum use of all available spaces in the prison estate, while minimising the distance of remand prisoners from the courts. This will enable the Prison Service to maintain its service to the courts despite the population pressures.

Ashfield prison is not being closed, but will instead only hold young prisoners, aged 15–17. Gloucester and other prisons in the area will hold remand and sentenced YAOs. Sentenced YAOs returning from court will be held at Gloucester for the minimum time possible before being transferred on to other establishments with YAO regimes.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the reasons are for the delay by the Director General of the Prison Service in replying to correspondence from the Independent Monitoring Board Chairman following the decision to re-admit young offenders to Gloucester prison. [144961]

Paul Goggins: The Director General of the Prison Service replied to the Chairman of the Independent Monitoring Board for Gloucester prison on 2 December 2003.

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