On a regular basis clients contact us, often having been interviewed by the police, worried about the impact that allegations will have on their good name and reputation, their business, their family lives (because often there has been a Section 47 Social Workers Investigation) and sometimes in relation to the Regulator (where appropriate).
One of the first things the majority of clients say to us is "can you make this all go away?"
The NSPCC has warned that abusers will exploit children spending more time on the internet because they are locked down and spending more time on their devices because of the Coronavirus.
It has been described as a “perfect storm” for abusers to take advantage of the pandemic.
According to police numbers, there has been a rise in domestic abuse incidents directly related to the Coronavirus outbreak,
They say that reports have been linked to the lockdown and that they were preparing for some serious incidents.
Having been removed from a register of a Professional Regulator, be it because of a criminal conviction or because of a fitness to practice issue, it is likely, after five years in most cases, from the date of the removal (or an unsuccessful appeal against the decision to remove you) that you will seek to be restored to the register.
The majority of regulators have a restoration process.
I was recently asked by the BBC to give an expert opinion on issues that have arisen following the campaign "We Can't Consent To This". The campaign is seeking to have a defence of manslaughter removed from the statute book wherever a person (more often than not a man) is accused of killing a person during the course of "rough sex".
I appeared on the Stephen Nolan show for BBC Radio 5 Live.
In a recent case heard at Belfast Crown Court, a man who was found to possess more than 500 indecent images and videos was placed on probation for three years. Critical considerations in the case were 'sexual immaturity' and that the accused made full admissions when interviewed by police.
The UK Government has been advised that they should impose stricter travel restrictions on UK citizens who have been convicted of sex offences. The recent Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) has resulted in a 73-page document to address international child sex abuse. The report showed that between 2013-2017, 361 UK nationals sought consular advice after being arrested for child sex offences overseas. Crucially, the report identified gaps in the UK legal system that it called on the government to address, notably more significant use of foreign travel restriction in sexual offences cases. The report says:
Metropolitan police chief, Supt Robyn Williams, was found guilty of possessing indecent images on her phone after she received an unsolicited WhatsApp message that included a video of child sexual abuse. The jury at the Old Bailey heard how Williams was attending a gym class when she was sent the video by her sister, who wanted the person who made the video caught by police and charged.
Women’s organisations and senior lawyers have begun to look more closely at the use of ‘rough sex gone wrong’ as a defence to sexual crimes in the courtroom. Many have proposed a change in the law, following the discovery by researchers of a tenfold rise in the use of the argument in UK courts in cases where women have been killed.
In recent news, it has been revealed that The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) may have implemented secret targets for prosecutors in relation to rape cases. This may have resulted in tens-of-thousands of rape cases being dropped.
An unofficial policy which called on prosecutors to have ‘levels of ambition’ and to strive to achieve a 60% conviction rate in rape cases, is alleged to have encouraged prosecutors to drop rape cases that did not have a high chance of conviction.