What is the ‘Sex Offender Register’?
Defendants convicted of sexual offences face an additional burden on top of any sentence they receive. The sex offenders register contains the details of anyone convicted, cautioned or released from prison for sexual offence against children or adults since September 1997.
How do the police know where the sex offenders are?
Under the Sex Offenders Acts of 1997 and 2003 all sex offenders must register with the police. They must do this within three days of their conviction or release.
Not registering is an offence punishable by imprisonment. Not registering will also be a breach of release licence conditions. This could lead to recall to prison.
Offenders must tell the police if they will be away for more than seven days. They must notify any change to their name or address within three days as well as re-register with the nearest police station each year.
How long an offender has to comply with the notification obligation depends on the sentence and the age of the offender. Below are the relevant periods for adult offenders:
|30 months to life||Indefinite|
|Hospital Order with restriction||Indefinite|
|6 months to 30 months||10 years|
|Less than 6 months||7 years|
|Hospital Order no restriction||7 years|
|Conditional discharge||The length of the conditional discharge|
|Fine or Community order||5 years|
What happens if I do not abide by the notification requirements?
If for any reason you do not understand your full obligations contact us so that we can give specific advice.
Non-compliance means that you may have committed a criminal offence, which can be punished by up to 5 years imprisonment. Any breach is always treated seriously by a court.
It can be seen from the table above that some offenders must notify for an indefinite period. Until a court judgment in 2012, that meant for life. Howvere a change in the law now means that some offenders can apply to have indefinite notification requirements removed. We can help with this. Note that if you are subject to notification requirements for a fixed term, this cannot be reduced.
When can I make that application?
An adult can apply after 15 years and a juvenile after eight years. However, if you are also subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, that must be removed before an application can be made in respect to notification requirements, we can of course assist you with this.
How do I go about doing that?
There is a 2-stage process. Initially, there is an application to the police. If the application is refused, you can then appeal to a magistrates’ court.
Do the police always refuse these requests?
You might think so, but in our experience, this is not the case. Some police forces have reported an initial success rate of some 66%. It is not, however, a simple case of writing a letter and asking for the order to be lifted. The case has to pass a statutory test. It is important that we draft the application professionally to give you the best prospects of success.
Below is a list of some of the issues the police must consider. It does not include everything but gives an idea of how much information has to be collected and addressed.
When considering a sex offender application the police must consider:
- information (if any) received from a responsible body
- the risk of sexual harm posed by the offender and the effect of a continuation of the indefinite notification requirements on the offender; and also consider the matters listed below:
- seriousness of the initial offence
- the period which has elapsed since the offender committed the offence (or other offences)
- where the offender falls within section 81(1) of the 2003 Act, whether the offender committed any offence under section 3 of the Sex Offenders Act 1997
- age of the offender at the qualifying date or further qualifying date and the age of the offender at the time the offence was committed
- the age of any person who was a victim of any such offence
- difference in age between the victim and the offender at the time of the offence
- submission or evidence from a victim of the offence giving rise to the indefinite notification requirements;
- any caution which the offender has received for an offence
- all other submission or evidence of the risk of sexual harm posed by the offender;
- evidence presented by or on behalf of the offender which demonstrates that the offender does not pose a risk of sexual harm; and
- other matter which the relevant chief officer of police considers to be appropriate.
How can we assist?
You will appreciate from the above that the appeal process is both complex and detailed. So sex offender cases often need careful attention to the clients needs. Therefore we would need a full background history including, if available the original criminal file, as well as a comprehensive account of your current circumstances. We may also have to instruct medical experts.We can assist in collating the material necessary to draft and submit an application that has the best chance of success, whether before the police or a court.