Sexual offences have trebled over the past ten years and there is also widespread concern about the growth of false allegations and the quality of justice for the wrongly accused in sexual offences.
Rightly, the criminal justice system has become more responsive to complaints of rape and other sexual offences. Police services have dedicated teams of police and social workers receptive to complaints that may date back to many decades. There is also a range of statutory special measures for children and vulnerable witnesses giving evidence. These developments have greatly eased the burden of reporting sexual crimes and giving evidence.
It for this reason that it is imperative should you face an allegation of a sexual nature you instruct a specialist defence team who have a proven track record otherwise you run a very high risk of being placed on the Sex Offenders Register.
The sex offender’s register contains the details of anyone convicted, cautioned or released from prison for a sexual offence against children or adults since September 1997, when it was set up. The register, which is run by the police, is not retroactive, so does not include anyone convicted before 1997. There are around 33,000 people on the register in the UK.
Under the Sex Offenders Act 1997, as amended by the Sexual Offences Act 2003, all convicted sex offenders must register with the police within three days of their conviction or release from prison. This is monitored by the police who receive notification from the court’s following conviction, and both the prisons and probation service following an offender’s release into the community.
Failure to register is an offence, which can carry a term of imprisonment. Registrants must inform the police within three days if they change their name or address, and disclose if they are spending seven days or more away from their home. Convicted sex offenders have to register with their local police every year.
Those on the register are required to notify the police if they change their name or address, and are also required to reveal any plans to travel outside the UK. Again, failure to comply is an offence.
The police can photograph offenders every time they register, and all forces exchange information about the movements of such offenders, with a national computerised database having been set up to facilitate this procedure.
Police forces can also apply for “sex offender orders” that bar offenders from certain activities and areas frequented by children. The most high-risk offenders are subject to further surveillance – which can include electronic tagging – by local multi-agency public protection panels, which include police, probation, social services and other agencies. Offenders are given strict licence conditions and can be sent back to prison if they fail to cooperate.
It depends on the offence. Those given a prison sentence of more than 30 months for sexual offending are placed on the register indefinitely. Those imprisoned for between 6 and 30 months remain on the register for 10 years, or 5 years if they are under 18. Those sentenced for 6 months or less are placed on the register for 7 years, or 3 ½ years if under 18. Those cautioned for a sexual offence are put on the register for 2 years, or 1 year if under 18.
What checks are in place once someone is removed from the register?
An enhanced Criminal Records Bureau check, required for anyone who works with children, would flag up someone’s presence on the register, or previous convictions or cautions, to a potential employer. It would also provide “soft” intelligence about allegations and concerns – for example if the police had been called round to their house due to a report of domestic violence.
The Home Office says 97% of convicted sex offenders are on the register, but some offenders deliberately pursue an itinerant lifestyle in order to avoid registration.
Furthermore, there is concern that many instances of sexual abuse – particularly against children – go unreported. This is because young victims are less likely to report abuse and can feel intimidated, embarrassed or guilty, and independent witnesses are rare.
Head teachers, doctors, youth leaders, sports club managers and others, including landlords, are notified of the existence of a local sex offender on a confidential basis, but a system of general disclosure is unlikely to happen in Britain.
Falsley Accused Ltd are familiar with dealing with all sexual offences and in particular:
- Assault by penetration
- Sexual Assault
- Historical Abuse Cases
- Causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent
- Engaging in sexual activity with a child /Engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child.
- Intercourse with a girl under 13 years
- Incest with a girl under 13 years
- Downloading indecent images, Chat Room & Social Networking Crime
- Sexual Activity with a person with a mental disorder impeding choice
- Sexual Allegations in Divorce
- Buggery with a person under 16 years
- Indecent Assault which constitutes an act of Gross Indecency
- Sexual Grooming
- Sexual Harassment at Work
- Possession/making or distributing (pseudo) indecent photographs or images
- Trafficking Offences
When a defendant is convicted of a sexual offence, ancillary orders can be made, some are automatic, and others have to be applied for. Examples of these can be:
Inclusion of an Offender’s name in the Sex Offenders Register (See also Sex Offences Register Page).
Notification – An offender can be obliged to notify police of information about themselves and to notify the police of any changes in that information.
Sexual Offenders Prevention Orders – These are often made by the Court after conviction for sexual offences. Free standing application for such orders can be made to the Magistrates Court.
Irrelevant of the powers of the Court, there is current legislation in place, namely the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 which gives the Secretary of State power to bar individuals from regulated activities with children or vulnerable adults. Inclusion on the barred lists often flow as a consequence of a conviction for a sexual offence. Individuals who are included in the barred list may appeal to a tribunal against their inclusion.
As a tool for measuring risk to the public, the Sex Offenders Register alone is an imprecise guide.
The register contains the details of all those convicted of a crime in England and Wales under the 2003 Sexual Offences Act. Someone who has merely received a caution would also be placed on it.
But, for the police, this is simply a basic building block of information.
Thanks to a new intelligence database, called ViSOR, police forces have access too much more information, which will give them a better chance of assessing the risk to society posed by an offender.
ViSOR, which stands for Violent and Sex Offenders Register, tells police officers how many registered sex offenders are in their area and for what crimes they have been placed on the register.
The requirements for sex offender registration have been tightened since the register was set up under the 1997 Sex Offenders Act.
Offenders must now register with the police within 72 hours of being convicted or cautioned. They must give their name, date of birth, home address and national insurance number – if applicable.
Initial reporting to a police station has to be in person. The police may apply for anyone convicted of a sex offence abroad to be placed on the register.
It may also be a condition of registration that an offender notify the police if he or she is intending to travel abroad.
There is a sliding scale applied to offenders required to go on the register. Anyone getting a jail term of 30 months to life is subject to an indefinite term of registration – usually for the rest of his or her life’s.
A sentence of six months to 30 months is accompanied by 10 years on the register.
A sentence of under six months will require registration of up to seven years.
That includes those cautioned or given a community rehabilitation order.
For those under 18, the length of time on the register is usually half that of the adult term. Failure to register attracts a fine and or a jail sentence of up to five years.
Falsely accusing someone of a sexual assault ruins lives!