What Are Sexual Risk Orders?
A Sexual Risk Order (SRO) may be made against any person who has committed ‘an act of a sexual nature’ and where there is reasonable cause to believe that the individual poses a risk of harm to the public in the United Kingdom, or children or vulnerable adults abroad, and that it is necessary to protect the public from harm.
These orders are very draconian. A person does not need to have committed a relevant criminal offence or, indeed, any offence.
An SRO is a civil order and an application can be made by the police against any person who has not been convicted, cautioned etc. of an offence but who is none the less thought to pose a risk of harm. Yes it is worth repeating that again, even in circumstances where the defendant has been told the police are taking ‘no further action’ against them.
A Sexual Risk Order:
– prohibits the person from doing anything described in it and which restriction must be considered to be necessary
– cannot impose conditions requiring positive action (that the person must do something)
– has the legal effect of requiring the individual to notify the police of their name and address throughout the duration of the interim and/or full order.
– the minimum duration of a full SRO is two years and it cannot be discharged within two years without the agreement of all parties.
If the application is being contested an interim order will usually be imposed until the contesting hearing can take place.
WHY CHOOSE MORTONS?
Although these orders are civil in nature, Mortons Solicitors as specialist criminal solicitors are one of the few firms to regularly represent clients opposing these orders.
The conditions of these orders can be very technical in nature and very restrictive on a persons private and family life. Such as limiting contact with under 16s, and place restrictions on digital devices.
Often even if the necessity of the order is agreed, negotiation may be required with the applicant over the specific wording and conditions. This is not something that can usually be done without specialist legal representation by solicitors experienced in dealing with sexual risk orders.
There is a right of appeal to the Crown Court against the making of a SRO, either the full or the Interim Order, or any order renewing, varying and/or discharging it.
The order itself is not a conviction. However any breach where without reasonable excuse is a criminal offence for which, upon summary conviction in the Magistrates’ Court, the punishment is up to six months imprisonment, a fine, or both and on indictment before a Crown Court, a term of five years imprisonment. And the person may end up on the sex offenders register.
Criminal legal aid may be available for representation for these applications, but it is means tested. Contact Mortons Solicitors on 0161 477 1121 to speak to one of our solicitors.