Additional consequences of offending
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A range of additional consequences are possible for those convicted of sexual offences against a child. These include:
Children’s Services will be involved with your family
If you have children under the age of 18 and you are being investigated for sexual offences involving children, Children’s Services will become involved with your family.
If you have children over the age of 18, and they have their own children that you have regular access to, and you are being investigated for sexual offences involving children, Children’s Services will become involved with your family.
If there are any other children you have access to within your family or your social circles, and you are being investigated for sexual offences involving children, Children’s Services will become involved with your family.
The reason Children’s Services become involved is because they see you as a risk to all children, including your own. Children’s Services do not know you; all they know is that you are suspected to have committed a sexual offence against a child. In their eyes, this means you are potentially capable of committing a contact offence against a child. If this is not the case, then it is going to take a long time to prove otherwise.
When you are arrested, you will need to provide details of children you have contact with and Children’s Services will need to assess your risk to these children.
Children’s Services may set their own restrictions that you need to comply with. Typically, these include:
No unsupervised contact with your children
Moving out of the family home, if you currently live with children
If you are convicted, Children’s Services may initiate a ‘Section 47 enquiry’, in order to decide if further involvement in the family is required and what type of action is needed in order to safeguard and promote the welfare of the relevant child/ren.
Children’s Services may ask the parents to undertake some specific work to address risk factors (such as treatment programmes for offenders or protective parenting work for parents). The outcome of Children’s Services assessments will vary depending on individual risks and circumstances.
Some arrested individuals who have not been charged with contact offences – in other words the alleged offences do not involve physical or face-to-face contact with a child (e.g., viewing indecent images of children online, sending sexual text messages to a child) – are surprised to discover the authorities consider them a risk to children, but the authorities will be concerned about the arrested person’s future behaviour, as well as possible past offences committed by the individual but not yet detected.
Your relationships may be affected
How are your family going to feel if your partner, your children or your parents learn you have committed a sexual offence against a child?
What opinion are they going to have about you? Will they still love you? Will they still want to have contact with you?
How are you going to tell your children what you have done? What will they think if you suddenly move out of the family home with no explanation?
Some individuals in this situation are lucky as they have family members and friends who want to support them through this. Others are not so lucky.
Nobody can predict how a person is going to react. Do you want to take this risk or do you want to get help now?
You might be in the media
There is a chance that your case will be shown in the media. This is never guaranteed, but it can also never be avoided or controlled.
If it’s in the media, it’s in the media. If it’s not, it’s not. You just need to be aware that it’s a possibility and think about what effect it will have on you, your children, your partner and the rest of your family.
You might lose your job
You need to be aware that your offending will not only affect your job, but possibly jobs belonging to members of your family too.
Working with children
If your job involves a lot of contact with children, for example if you are a school teacher or a doctor, you will have to leave your job immediately. During your initial interview with the police, they will ask you about your occupation and if necessary, you will be asked to resign and the police may be required to disclose your offending to your employer.
Not working with children
If you are being investigated by the police, then you need to check your work contract. Some contracts will state that you need to disclose to your employer if you have any involvement with the authorities with regards to criminal behaviour. If this is the case, you need to do so, otherwise further down the line when you are convicted, your employer will find out and you will likely be dismissed.
If your contract said you do not need to disclose any involvement with the authorities, then you can continue working without legally needing to disclose your offending to your employer.
Telling your employer about your offending does not automatically mean that you will lose your job. Some employers will allow for you to continue working. Nevertheless, you need to be prepared for being asked to leave.
Your partner’s employment
What many people who commit sexual offences don’t realise is that their offending can have an impact on their partner’s job.
For example, if your partner is a childminder, a private music teacher or works with children under 8, your partner may not be able to continue with that work. Firstly, those children will not be allowed to visit the address whilst you are still living at that address. Secondly, it may be that the parents of these children need to be spoken to by the police or Children’s Services; therefore it will have a negative effect on your partner’s reputation because these parents may not want to use their service any more.
These examples are also relevant to any other individuals living in the same property as you, including adult children.
Trying to find a job in the future
If you are convicted of offences then you are going to experience some barriers with regards to work.
There will be some jobs that you wouldn’t even get an interview for; mainly anything involving children or vulnerable adults. In addition, if you will also face difficulties if you want to teach adults.
When you apply for certain jobs, they ask you to state whether you have any spent or unspent convictions. You can be prosecuted if you fail to disclose spent convictions when asked and you will be found out if your employer runs a DBS check (Disclosure and Barring Service).
It is also important to be aware that other people living at the same address as you can also fail a DBS check because the check will bring back information stating that there is a person with unspent sexual offences living at that address.
Please see the table below which describes what the three levels of disclosure are, and what information each check will bring back:
|Information Included:||Basic Disclosure||Standard Disclosure||Enhanced Disclosure|
|Unspent criminal convictions|
|Spent criminal convictions|
|Cautions, reprimands and final warnings (please see descriptions below chart)|
|Inclusion on children’s’ lists
(where relevant to post applied for)
|Inclusion on adults’ lists
(where relevant to post applied for)
|Other relevant information held by police forces|
For further information, please see https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service.
Your financial situation
What happens if you lose your job?
What happens if you have to move out of the family home and rent a different property?
How are you going to cope financially?
It is possible that this could happen to you.