Practical information & advice

There are many misconceptions about convictions for sexual offences and how they work in terms of disclosing to employers. You should make sure that you are clear about:

  • When your conviction becomes spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and what you’re legally requested to disclose to employers, insurers etc.
  • The impact of the sex offenders’ register and any civil order on rehabilitation periods.

Read our latest news posts about sexual offences


Here you’ll find links to various parts of this site where we have information and useful resources relating to sexual offences.

I’ve just been convicted of a sexual offence and worried about how this will affect me and my family.
I received a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) as part of my disposal; will it affect when my conviction becomes spent?

Possibly. Your conviction cannot become spent until the SHPO ends. If it is for an indefinite period then your conviction will not become spent until the SHPO has ended (for example by going back to court).

What is the impact of the civil order that the court gave me to run alongside my sentence/disposal?

It depends on the order that was given to you. You should check your police record, but it may be:

I’m on the sex offenders’ register; will it affect me when my conviction becomes spent?

No. It is possible to remain on the register once your conviction becomes spent. However, being on the register doesn’t mean that you would necessarily be legally required to disclose your conviction if you are asked by employers. It depends on the job you’re applying for and whether your conviction is spent.

I’m on the sex offenders’ register for life. Can I appeal to come off it?

Yes, normally after a period of 15 years if you were convicted as an adult or after 8 years if you were convicted as a child.

I’m on the register and just met a new partner who has children. How likely is it that social services will get involved with the family?

If you intend on moving in with your partner or you will have significant contact with the children, then it’s likely that children’s services could become involved.

I’ve just been convicted of a sexual offence; will I be able to work with children or vulnerable adults in the future?

Depending on the nature of your offence, you may be considered unsuitable to work with children and/or vulnerable adults and may be placed on one or both barred lists.

I was convicted of a sexual offence overseas, could I be made subject to notification requirements if I return to live in England or Wales?

Possibly, providing the police can demonstrate to a court that certain conditions have been met.


Here you’ll find some of the common advice we give on sexual offences. This is based on what we’ve learnt as a charity, as well as the real-life experiences of people with convictions.

  • Be clear about the impact that any civil order will have on the rehabilitation period of your caution/conviction.
  • Wherever possible, try to develop a good working relationship with your probation officer or your supervising police officer. They are likely to be less intrusive or restrictive if you are open and upfront with them.
  • If you have an indefinite notification or indefinite SOPO/SHPO, it’s generally worth applying to have them amended or revoked at the appropriate time.

Frequently asked questions

No, you can apply to the police force in your local area to vary the registration time under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (Remedial) Order 2012. They would take a number of factors into consideration in determining a response to your request. See our sex offence notification requirements section.
There is no change to the notification periods contained in the Sexual Offences Act 2003. They are separate to the disclosure periods in the ROA. It is therefore possible for you to be subject to notification requirements yet still have the conviction ‘spent’ under the ROA.
If you’re travelling abroad, the police may put a notification ‘flag’ on your passport. This can sometimes cause problems if you are using the automated passport control gates at the airport. The gates won’t let you through and an immigration officer will come to speak to you. Some people might find this embarrassing. Therefore, whenever possible, it’s advisable to use a manned gate.
Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, the rehabilitation period is based on the sentence or out of court disposal handed down to you, not the offence that you have been convicted of.
In certain situations, it may be possible to go back to court to get it amended. More details are available here.
The time spent on the SOR would be determined by the custodial element of your sentence, not the suspended part. Therefore, in this case, the time spent on the SOR would be 7 years.
If you’re subject to an extended sentence, the notification period is calculated using the whole term of the sentence. For instance, if you were sentenced to 4 months plus a four month extended supervision period, the whole term would be eight months. The notification period would be 10 years. So in this example, if the total period was over 30 months, you will be on the register for life (but can appeal to come off in the future)
Technically it’s not him that is doing it. One of Facebook’s terms and conditions is “You will not use Facebook if you are a convicted sex offender”.
Notification requirements came into force on 1 September 1997 in the Sex Offenders Act 1997. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 repealed the 1997 Act and made considerable changes to the notification requirements.

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 also reformed and clarified the majority of sexual offences, and those offences/sentences that would mean an individual is placed on the register are listed in Schedule 3 of the Act. The notification requirements apply to anyone convicted or cautioned from 1997 onwards for a Schedule 3 offence and also includes offences committed before that date.

Here you’ll find links to useful organisations and websites related to sexual offences that we refer to in our information and advice. Contact details for the organisations listed below can be found here.

  • Circles UK – A national organisation working to reduce sex offending
  • Lucy Faithfull Foundation – A child protection charity working with people who have convictions for sexual offences
  • Family Rights Group – A charity working with parents in England and Wales who have children in need, at risk or are in the care system. They also advise family members and friends of their rights and options
  • Ministry of Justice  – A Government body who have responsibility for the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act
  • Police.UK – Provides a list of police forces in the UK

Read personal stories

The personal stories below have been posted on theRecord, our online magazine.

Discuss this with others

Read and share your experiences of dealing with sexual offences on our online forum.

Key sections include:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email