Petition Deny Sex Offenders the right to apply for removal from the Sex Offender Register
It’s horrifying that convicted sex offenders who were sentenced to more than 30 months for sexual offences and added to the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely can apply to be removed after 15 years. I want the right to apply for removal from the Sex Offenders Register to be removed.
As a victim of sustained and severe sexual abuse at aged just 4 to the age of 16 by a number of men I feel like any justice dealt to these predators is completely eradicated when they are allowed to apply to be removed from the Sex Offenders Register.
It feels like my efforts in the interview rooms, court rooms and numerous therapists offices are in vain when these offenders can apply to be removed from this register after a time. Where is my safety and security? We believe these arrangements are a disgraceful betrayal to survivors.
This response was given on 17 April 2023
Protecting the public from sexual harm is a priority for the Government. Sex offenders who pose a risk will remain on the register for life if necessary. We do not plan to change the law in this area.
Firstly, we are very sorry to hear about the petitioner’s childhood experiences of sexual abuse and violence. We are clear that crimes of sexual violence are abhorrent, and we commend the courage and confidence of the petitioner for reporting these crimes.
Protecting the public from sexual and violent offenders who pose a risk of serious harm is a key priority for the Government and the police. The Government understands the public’s concerns about the risk posed by sex offenders. That is why we are continually working with police forces and law enforcement to ensure our system is as robust as it can be.
Qualifying offenders are required to notify their personal details to the police. This system is often referred to as the ”sex offenders’ register” and requires offenders to provide their local police station with a record of (amongst other things) their: name, address, date of birth and national insurance number. This is done annually and whenever their details change.
The notification requirements are an automatic consequence of a conviction or caution (for a Schedule 3 offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003), but the length of time an offender will be subject to the requirements will vary dependent upon the sentence they are given.
The duration of the notification requirements (or how long a person is on the sex offenders’ register) is set out in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and the courts have no discretion over this. These durations range from two years for a caution to – as the petitioner points out – an indefinite (and possibly lifetime) duration where an offender is sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 30 months or more; they are halved for offenders under 18 years of age on the relevant date.
In August 2012, the Government introduced additional notification requirements under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. These measures require all offenders subject to the notification requirements under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (the 2003 Act) to also notify to the police:
o all foreign travel;
o weekly, where they are registered as ‘no fixed abode’;
o where they are living in a household with a child under the age of 18;
o their bank account and credit card details, and information about their passports or other identity documents.
In 2010, the Supreme Court (in the case of R (on the application of F (by his litigation friend F)) and Thompson (FC) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKSC 17) made a declaration under section 4 of the Human Rights Act 1998 that the indefinite notification for registered sex offenders were incompatible with article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights in that they did not include any provision for the “review of the justification for continuing the requirements in individual cases”.
To address this incompatibility, in July 2012 the Sexual Offences Act 2003 was amended by the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (Remedial) Order 2012 to introduce a mechanism which enables registered sex offenders who are subject to notification requirements for life to apply for those requirements to be reviewed. Offenders are able to seek a review only once they have completed 15 years subject to the notification requirements (eight years for juveniles). A review is not automatic and must be applied for by the offender.
Any review is carried out by the police and takes into account a range of factors, including any information provided from agencies which operate within the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements framework. This ensures that there is an individual assessment of risk before any offender is considered for removal from the notification requirements. Where the police decline an application there is a route of appeal to the magistrates’ court.
We are clear that we have a process that is robust, workable and makes public protection a central factor, while at the same time preventing sex offenders from being able to waste taxpayers’ money by repeatedly challenging our laws. Sex offenders who continue to pose a risk will remain on the register and will do so for life if necessary.
At 100,000 signatures...
At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament