Excess drinking while pregnant ‘a crime of violence’, court told

Judges to rule whether seven-year-old is entitled to compensation as victim of crime

The Court of Appeal of England and Wales is being asked to decide in a test case whether a pregnant woman committed "a crime of violence" against her child when she drank alcohol to excess while pregnant.

Lawyers for child “CP”, who cannot be named for legal reasons, are asking three judges to rule that the seven-year-old is entitled to compensation as a victim of violent crime after being born with an alcohol-related disorder.

If the appeal succeeds, it could pave the way for pregnant women’s behaviour to be criminalised, warns the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.

The court heard that CP suffers from foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which can cause retarded growth, facial abnormalities and intellectual impairment. The condition was diagnosed 252 times in England in 2012 and 2013.


A council in the northwest of England, which now has responsibility for CP, is fighting for an award on her behalf under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. – (PA)