Protect Innocent People's Identity

The Home Office & The Government

Graphic by Joe Lever

We note with concern the Government’s response on 24th November to a petition calling to “Revoke the right of registered sex offenders to change their name by deed poll”. The Government stated it intends to change Home Office guidance "so that only enrolled deed polls (through the Royal Courts of Justice) are accepted as a proof of name change" for official government documents. These deed polls are viewable by the public as they are published in The Gazette and includes the address, previous name and new name of the applicant.

Currently, people are able to change their name via a deed poll, which does not need to be enrolled. However, if this proposed change is made, people who want to change their name on their passport, driving license or any other government issued documentation would need an enrolled deed poll, meaning their gender status and address would be accessible to the public.

This change could have disastrous consequences for those who have been subject to domestic abuse and for trans people.

Many victims of domestic abuse change their names using unenrolled deed polls, to start a new life away from their abuser. Forcing them to make their name change public in order to obtain a new driving licence or passport could put them in danger.

Likewise, trans people currently use deed polls to change their details. Requiring them to register their name change details publicly would be a form of permanent outing, and given the ongoing discrimination and violence that trans people face in the UK, could put them at risk.

We support efforts to provide greater protection for communities from sex offenders who change their names, but we believe this can be done without putting the lives of vulnerable people at risk. The response of the Government is not proportionate to keep the public safe. In fact, it may subject members of the public to further harm. It also appears to be in conflict with the Human Rights Act (1998), Article 8, which is the ‘Right to respect for private and family life’.

We therefore urge the Government to revisit their planned changes to Home Office guidance and to confirm that domestic abuse victims and trans people can continue to change their passport and driving licence details without being forced to make their name change details public.

Petition and Government's Response:
The Gazette:

This isn’t formal Green Party policy and is a petition to raise awareness on this issue.

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To: The Home Office & The Government
From: [Your Name]

UK Government, ensure unenrolled deed polls are still accepted as proof of name change for official government documents by The Home Office.

This change could have disastrous consequences for those who have been subject to domestic abuse and for trans people. Protect people's Right to Respect for Private and Family Life.

Failure to do so may harm innocent members of the public.