Historic convictions and their effect on your DBS application

Written 18th November 2022 by Nathalie Potter

We speak to an increasing number of people with historic convictions that have been released on a DBS certificate and, as a result, have triggered an investigation into barring. Perhaps when you were much younger you hung out with the wrong crowd? Perhaps you were involved in a fight that got out of hand? Perhaps you made a split second bad decision that result in drink or drug driving? Perhaps you even have a conviction for a serious and/or sexual assault? Whilst you may never work directly in regulated activity, your historic conviction could have a significant impact upon your future ability to volunteer. Previous clients have applied for voluntary positions to help out with their children’s extra-curricular activities such as sports coaches, first aiders, brownie or scout leaders, gymnastics coaches or even volunteering at schools. A historic conviction wouldn’t necessarily prevent your working with children or vulnerable adults in the future, but a barring certainly would!

How can we help?

We have made a number of successful representations to the DBS in relation to historic convictions of serious and/or sexual assaults whereby our clients were between the ages of 13 and 22 at the time of their conviction. In these cases we were able to focus our arguments on a number of strong points:
  • Our clients were in some instances significantly older (by as much as 50-60 years) at the time of their application to the DBS.
  • As a result of their age they had more life experience and a better understanding of the law, societal expectation and accountability. We could demonstrate how clients now have significantly more understanding and are better equipped to manage emotions and behaviour.
  • They had removed themselves from problematic situations as a result of bad upbringing or life circumstances. Some clients had very little or no positive role models and as such there was simply nobody to reinforce good behaviour.
  • Children’s and adolescent’s brains are simply wired differently to those of adult’s and there is the potential for a scientific argument to be made in your case. The child you once were does not reflect the adult you are now and we believe that the decisions we make as children or adolescents should not be used against us as adults.
We were further able to assist clients in demonstrating their remorse and understanding of the impact their behaviour had upon their victims at the time. Clients, more often than not, now have children of their own and were able to reflect upon how their actions had consequences not just upon the victims directly but also potentially on their family and friends too.

Get in touch

Nathalie Potter

Head of Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) Department


Head Office


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