Leading defence lawyers specialising in Sexual Harm Prevention orders (SHPO) and Sexual Offences Prevention Orders (SOPO)
They are civil orders made by a court, and can be best described as a ‘Sexual ASBO’. Prior to March 2015 they were known as Sexual Offences Prevention Orders (SOPO) . Post March 2015 they are known as Sexual Harm Prevention Orders (SHPO).
Does a SHPO/SOPO require guilt?
Not necessarily. They can be made against any person who is convicted of a qualifying offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 but also can be made against someone based solely on alleged behaviour which did not result in a prosecution. In order to make a order, the court must be satisfied that the offender presents a risk of sexual harm to the public (or particular members of the public) and that an order is necessary to protect against such risk. Such a scenario would be behaviour which does not amount to an offence but which the Police or Social Services consider troubling.
Is it recorded as a conviction and recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC)?
Any conviction in the criminal courts automatically is recorded as such. Any civil order imposed by the courts will show up on a PNC check. Of more relevance any such conviction or order would be present on any enhanced Disclosure and Barring search and would unless in exceptional circumstances prevent employment in certain areas.
When does it become spent?
After the length of the order. However, please be aware on some employment forms there is a specific request for all convictions including spent and also as above such convictions will show up on an enhanced DBS check.
What can a SOPO/SHPO include?
Each order is tailored to the particular offence so if the offence is possession of indecent images (a non contact offence) such an order should not include prohibitions to prevent contact.with children under the age of 18. If the victims were of the same gender, such an order should distinguish as such. The prohibitions need to be justified, proportionate and enforceable. Most SOPO/SHPO will regulate the use of the internet but will not prevent the carrying out of daily internet activities such as banking and shopping. In these cases the devices that the Police will be entitled to seize any device and check its internet history
Can a SHPO/SOPO be varied or discharged?
Yes, it can be at any time. If the application to discharge is made within five years of it being granted it requires the permission of the local Chief Constable. This does not however prevent the court from removing or varying the order or it’s duration within that period. Orders are often varied as the offender’s life circumstances change such as family or employment commitments. The purpose of the order is to limit the risk of further offences. It is not meant as a punishment and the authorities acknowledge that where there are protective factors in place such as employment and family, the risk of further offending is considerably reduced. It is a balancing act between the offenders liberty and the risk to the public.
How do you go about varying/discharging an order?
The application has to be made to the court that imposed the order in the first instance. It is made in writing and on notice. If the Offender manager is supportive of the application it is normally varied or discharged administratively without the need for a court hearing. This of course limits the publicity it may attract. Therefore there is no need to attend court.
How does it tie in with the notification requirements?
The two normally run in tandem and complement each other. However there are occasions when the notification requirements have expired yet the SOPO continues to be in force. This is because if you are subject to such an order you automatically notify. In these instances the courts are usually sympathetic to the order being discharged. Recent judicial practice is that the length of each order should be of the same duration.
Are you entitled to legal aid to have the order varied?
In some instances this may be covered under the original legal aid certificate but in the majority of instances the application will be privately funded. Olliers Solicitors only undertake such work on a privately funded basis.
How much does it cost?
This will largely depend on whether the application is contested so anywhere between £750 – £5,000 plus VAT. We would suggest that you contact our team to discuss your individual case and we will then be able to give you a more accurate quotation having regard to the specifics of your case.
Recent News Items about SHPO/SOPO
- Sexual Harm Prevention Orders and notification requirements
- Sexual Offences Prevention Orders
- Can I be discharged from a SOPP/SHPO
- Sentencing breach SHPO/SOPO
Here is what previous clients have said:-
- ‘I can’t thank you enough, it’s like a massive weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I now have a future that I can cope with and enjoy.’ Mr.D (2019)
- ‘Thank you so so much for all of your support and expertise, it was such a comfort during a truly awful time. Also I did my research and you were recommended by others too, as one of the best in Manchester on such matters.’ Mr.T (2020)
- ‘Thank you for your help with this matter. I am very grateful for your time and resolving this matter.’ Mr C (2019). ‘I would like to Thank you for all your help as our solicitor, you have been brilliant. The outcome is fantastic, better than we had hoped’. Mr P. (2019)
Need a Specialist SOPO/SHPO Removal Lawyer?
Max Saffman has successfully represented many clients in discharging or varying such orders. He is experienced in dealing with different police forces around the country and applying to courts nationwide. Such applications have to be carefully drafted, evidence has to be gathered and assessed to provide the best chance of success.
If you wish to discuss making an application for varying or discharging a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) or Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) please contact our specialist team by telephone on 0161 8341515, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the form below to send us a message.