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1.4.31 Risks Posed by People with Convictions Against Children


A good indicator of future risk is past behaviour and, therefore, where persons with convictions for offences against children come into contact with children, an assessment should be made of the risk posed.

RELATED GUIDANCE

Home Office Circular 2005 Guidance on offences against children

MAPPA (Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements) Guidance

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in July 2018, in line with revised national MAPPA guidance.


Contents

  1. Relevant Offences
  2. Assessing Risk
  3. Factors to Consider
  4. Management of Convicted Sex Offenders
  5. Concerns about People Suspected of Offences
  6. Exchanging Information about Dangerous People
  7. MAPPA and Potentially Dangerous Person


1. Relevant Offences

The terms ‘Schedule One Offender’ and ‘Schedule One Offence’ have been commonly used for anyone convicted of an offence against a child listed in Schedule One of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933. However, a conviction for an offence in Schedule One does not trigger any statutory requirement in relation to child protection issues; inclusion within the definition of Schedule One Offender was determined solely by the age of the victim and the offence for which the offender was sentenced, and not by an assessment of future risk of harm to children.

For this reason, the terms Schedule One offence and Schedule One Offender are no longer used and have been replaced by references to Risk to Children Offenders. This clearly indicates that the person has been identified as presenting a risk, or potential risk, to children.

In relation to offenders, Home Office Guidance (‘Guidance on offences against Children’, Home Office Circular 16/2005) explains how those who present a risk to children should be identified. The circular explains that the present method of automatically identifying as a risk to children an offender who has been convicted of a Schedule One offence fails to focus on those who continue to present a risk.

The new list of offences contained in the circular (which can be used to identify those who present a risk, or potential risk, to children) should operate as a trigger to a further assessment to determine if an offender should be regarded as presenting a continued risk of harm to children. 

Once an individual has been sentenced and identified as presenting a risk to children, agencies have a responsibility to work collaboratively to monitor and manage the risk of harm to others. Where the offender is given a community sentence, offender managers have responsibility for monitoring the individual’s risk to others and their behaviour, and liaising with partner agencies as necessary.

Where such an offender is known to be, or is suspected of being, in contact with a child or children now, or in the immediate future, a referral should be made to Children's Social Care in accordance with the Referrals Procedure, and consideration should be given to the making of enquiries under these procedures to determine whether any protective action should be taken. The following guidance is supplementary to those sections.


2. Assessing Risk

Only an analysis of the context and seriousness of the offence(s) linked to an analysis of the current circumstances will enable professionals to make a valid assessment of risk.

It must be noted that professionals can only look at the known facts. Speculation as to the reasons and circumstances of any plea, are generally unsafe. Similarly, reliance upon the type of offence for which someone is convicted is not necessarily a reliable indicator of its seriousness. 


3. Factors to Consider

When undertaking an assessment it is important to consider a number of factors.

These will include:

  • The date of the offence;
  • The age of the perpetrator in relation to the victim;
  • The type of offence;
  • The degree of coercive or threatening behaviour;
  • The pattern of offending;
  • The circumstances of the offence;
  • Any subsequent assessments of risk;
  • The offender’s attitude to the offence.


4. Management of Convicted Sex Offenders

The Sex Offenders Act 1997 introduced the requirement for people convicted of certain sex offences to register with the Police. All such people are subject to the MAPPA (Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements) process governed by an inter-agency protocol drawn up by Northumbria Police and Probation Services.

The MAPPA process necessarily dovetails into these procedures. It is designed to support these procedures; however it should not hinder or delay the application of necessary protective action where required in specific cases.


5. Concerns about People Suspected of Offences

These must be addressed with caution. However, a lack of conviction for a criminal offence does not necessarily mean that a response under these procedures or through the civil courts is inappropriate.

In such cases legal and professional advice should be sought.

In some civil cases, e.g. Care Proceedings, findings of fact have been made and should be responded to as if there was a conviction.


6. Exchanging Information about Dangerous People

It is important for all agencies to be clear about the need and the reasons for exchanging information about people considered to be a risk to children. Unless exceptional circumstances apply, the subject of the information should be informed of the intention to share. For detailed guidance, see Information Sharing and Confidentiality Procedure.

It is not the transfer of information itself which protects children, but the assessment and action which that information enables. Therefore, it is important that information is full enough to enable effective analysis and assessment to take place.

When a decision is taken to transfer information about a person who is considered to be dangerous, this should include:

  • Personal details, i.e. full name, date of birth, relevant addresses;
  • Details of the offender, type of offence and date;
  • Details of sentence (if applicable);
  • Victim details, i.e. full name, date of birth, relationship to offender;
  • Current relevance of the offence, including known or likely contact with children.

This will enable those undertaking a Section 47 Enquiry to have access to the full facts so that the decision-making process can operate effectively.


7. MAPPA and Potentially Dangerous Person

See also: MAPPA Guidance.

7.1 Introduction

The Criminal Justice and Court Services Act (2000) established the MAPPA and placed them on a statutory basis. The Criminal Justice Act (2003) re-enacted and strengthened those provisions.

The legislation requires the Police, Prison and Probation Providers (acting jointly as the 'Responsible Authority') in each of the 42 areas of England and Wales:

  • To establish arrangements for assessing and managing the risks posed by sexual and violent offenders;
  • To review and monitor the arrangements;
  • As part of the reviewing and monitoring arrangements, to prepare and publish an annual report on their operation.

A range of other agencies have also been placed under a duty to co-operate with the Responsible Authority. These include:

  • Local Authority Children's Safeguarding Services;
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups, other NHS Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities;
  • Jobcentres Plus;
  • Youth Offending Services;
  • Registered Social Landlords which accommodate MAPPA offenders;
  • Local Housing Authorities;
  • Local Education Authorities;
  • Electronic Monitoring providers;
  • UK Visas and Immigration.

7.2 Who is managed under MAPPA?

There are three categories of violent and sexual offenders that are managed through MAPPA:

  • Category 1 - Registered Sex Offenders who are required to notify the police of their name, address and other personal details, under the terms of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. The length of the registration period is set by the courts when the offender is sentenced. It might be for anything from 12 months to life, depending on the age of the offender, the age of the victim and the nature of the offence;
  • Category 2 - Violent offenders and some sex offenders who are not required to register:
    • An offender convicted (or found not guilty by reason of insanity or to be unfit to stand trial and to have done the act charged) of murder or an offence specified under Schedule 15 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (CJA 2003) Schedule 15 Criminal Justice Act 2003 who received a sentence of 12 months or more or a hospital order;
    • An offender barred from working with children under the DBS Vetting and Barring Scheme (or subject to a Disqualification Order for an offence listed under Schedule 4 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000, which preceded this Scheme).
  • Category 3 - Other dangerous offenders: a person who has been cautioned, reprimanded, warned or convicted of an offence which indicates that he or she is capable of causing serious harm and requires multi-agency management at level 2 or 3. The offence might not be one specified in Sch.15 of the CJA 2003.

7.3 Management of MAPPA Offenders

Offenders are placed into one of three MAPPA categories according to their offence and sentence.

Levels of MAPPA Management

The three levels of MAPPA management are:

  • Level 1: ordinary agency management;
  • Level 2: active multi-agency management; and
  • Level 3: active enhanced multi-agency management.

Level 1: Ordinary agency management Level 1 is where the risks posed by the offender can be managed by the agency responsible for the supervision or case management of the offender. This does not mean that other agencies will not be involved, only that it is not considered necessary to refer the case to a level 2 or 3 MAPP meeting.

It is essential that information sharing takes place, disclosure is considered, and there are discussions between agencies as necessary.

Level 2: Cases should be managed at Level 2 where the offender:

  • Is assessed as posing a high or very high risk of serious harm; or
  • The risk level is lower but the case requires the active involvement and co-ordination of interventions from other agencies to manage the presenting risks of serious harm; or
  • The case has been previously managed at level 3 but no longer meets the criteria for level 3; or
  • Multi-agency management adds value to the lead agency's management of the risk of serious harm posed.

Level 3: Level 3 management should be used for cases that meet the criteria for level 2 but where it is determined that the management issues require senior representation from the Responsible Authority and Duty-to-Co-operate agencies. This may be when there is a perceived need to commit significant resources at short notice or where, although not assessed as high or very high risk of serious harm, there is a high likelihood of media scrutiny or public interest in the management of the case and there is a need to ensure that public confidence in the criminal justice system is maintained.

7.4 Termination of MAPPA Offender Status

The period an offender remains a MAPPA offender varies significantly. Some will be MAPPA offenders for life and some for less than 6 months. The period will be dependent upon the offence committed and the sentence imposed.

Offenders will cease to be MAPPA offenders in the following circumstances:

Category 1 offenders – Registered Sex Offenders - when their period of registration expires. In the most serious cases, registration is for life (those subject to life registration will soon be able to apply for a review of their registration requirement).

Category 2 offenders - violent and other sexual offenders - when the licence expires, the offender is discharged from the hospital order or guardianship order, or the disqualification order is revoked.

Category 3 offenders - other dangerous offenders - when a level 2 or 3 MAPP meeting decides that the risk of harm has reduced sufficiently or the case no longer requires active multi-agency management.

All Category 1 and 2 offenders managed at MAPPA levels 2 or 3 who are coming to the end of their notification requirements or period of statutory supervision must be reviewed and should be considered for registration as a Category 3 offender. However, registration as a Category 3 offender should only occur if they meet the criteria and continue to require active multi-agency management.

All except Category 2 level 1 offenders will have an active ViSOR record. When they cease to be MAPPA offenders, the record will be archived. The record will remain in ViSOR until the offender's 100th birthday. At this point, the case will be reviewed with the expectation that the record will be deleted.

7.5 Potentially Dangerous Persons (PDP)

A PDP is a person who is not currently managed under one of the three MAPPA categories, but whose behaviour gives reasonable grounds for believing that there is a present likelihood of them committing an offence or offences that will cause serious harm.

Examples of PDPs include:

  • A person charged with domestic abuse offences on a number of occasions against different partners but never convicted of offences that would make them a MAPPA-eligible offender;
  • An individual who is continually investigated for allegations of child sexual abuse but is never charged or never receives a civil order, but whom agencies still believe poses a serious risk of sexual harm to children;
  • A terrorist suspected but not convicted of an offence;
  • Where a community psychiatric nurse (CPN) shares information with the police that a patient with mental ill health has disclosed fantasies about committing serious violent offences. The patient is not cooperating with the current treatment plan, and the CPN believes serious violent behaviour is imminent;
  • A person who has committed offences abroad that had they been committed here would result in the offender being managed under MAPPA.

These types of individuals could still benefit from active risk management but would not be managed under MAPPA. This management would usually involve two or more agencies, although there may be cases where only the police are involved. There must be a present likelihood of the subject causing serious harm in order for their case to be managed.

See College of Policing Introduction to Managing Sexual Offenders and Violent Offenders.

7.6 Referral Process

Where an agency identifies a person, whose behaviour is giving cause for concern in terms of public protection, that agency should gather information and, based upon a risk assessment, make a referral into MAPPA or PDP.

  • Complete Referral Form (electronically where possible);
  • Ensure it is countersigned by Line Manager;
  • Email to: NENPS.northandsouthoftyne.mappa@probation.gov.uk (using secure email);
  • Referral received at MAPPA Unit (by Thursday for 3pm);
  • Screening Panel (each Friday);
  • Feedback to referrer (within 10 days of receipt);
  • Request for agency reports where MAPP Level 2/3 or multi-agency PDP meetings are identified to manage the person.

End