The Sex Offenders Register is a register of all the individuals convicted, cautioned or released from prison for a sexual offence against a child or adult since 1997.

In this article, we explain in greater detail what the Sex Offenders Register is and how it affects those convicted of sexual offences in England and Wales.

Have you been accused of a sex offence?

If you have been accused of a sexual offence and are concerned about the consequences, please contact us at Ashmans Solicitors. Our criminal defence lawyers represent both adults and youths facing allegations of assault, rape and other sexual offences. Contact us now for a free initial enquiry. We can take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What is the sex offenders list UK?

The Sex Offenders Register is a system whereby anyone convicted of, or cautioned for, a sexual offence must register with the police on an annual basis.

When was the Sex Offenders Register created?

The Sex Offenders Register was created in 1997. Aside from exceptional circumstances, it only contains the details of those convicted of, or cautioned for, a sexual offence from 1997 onwards.

What offences put you on the sex offenders register?

You will be put on the Sex Offenders Register if you are found guilty of certain offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Offences that automatically require someone to be added to the Sex Offenders Register include:

  • Rape
  • Assault by penetration
  • Most sexual offences committed against children

Other sexual offences may also trigger a Sex Offenders Register requirement, such as exposure, possession of indecent images and sexual assault.

Offences can be committed online, as well as in person. For instance, watching child pornography or grooming a child over the internet are illegal. In both examples, the offender will be added to the Sex Offenders Register.

Related: I’ve Been Falsely Accused of Rape, What Should I Do?

Is the Sex Offenders Register just for offences against children?

The Sex Offenders Register is not a ‘paedophile register’. Someone may be added to the register for sexual offences against adults or children. For example, an adult who is found guilty of raping another adult will be put on the Sex Offenders Register.

What happens if you are on the sex offenders register?

If you are placed on the Sex Offenders Register, you are required by law to register with the police in person within three days of your caution, conviction or release from prison. You must tell the police:

  • Your name
  • Your address and any other addresses where you regularly stay
  • Whether you live with a child, or stay in a household where a child lives for at least 12 hours a day
  • Your date of birth
  • Your national insurance number
  • Your passport details
  • Your bank account details
  • Information about your conviction

A special department within the police – called the public protection team – then visits you at your home to carry out a risk assessment. High risk offenders may be subject to additional measures. This might include electronic tagging and computer monitoring software.

You must renew your registration every year until you are no longer required to be on the register.

What happens if you don’t join the Sex Offenders Register?

If you fail to register with the police despite being required to do so, then you have committed a separate criminal offence. This carries a potential penalty of up to five years in prison. You will have a defence if you have a reasonable excuse for failing to notify.

What else do I have to tell the police?

Once you have initially registered with the police as a sex offender, you must renew your registration on an annual basis. You must also tell the police if:

  • You change your name or address
  • You spend seven or more days away from your home
  • You are travelling outside of the UK

How long do you stay on the sex offenders register UK?

The amount of time you stay on the Sex Offenders Register for depends on the length of your sentence, and your age at the time of the offence.

If you were an adult at the time of the offence (meaning aged 18 or over), you will remain on the Sex Offenders Register:

  • Indefinitely – if you were imprisoned for 30 months or more
  • Indefinitely – if you were given a hospital order subject to a restriction order
  • For 10 years – if you were imprisoned for between six and 30 months
  • For seven years – if you were imprisoned for six months or less
  • For five years – if you received a fine or community order
  • For two years – if you were given a caution
  • For the length of the conditional discharge – if you were given a conditional discharge

If you were under the age of 18 at the time of the offence, you will remain on the Sex Offenders Register:

  • Indefinitely – if you were imprisoned for 30 months or more
  • Indefinitely – if you were given a hospital order subject to a restriction order
  • For five years – if you were imprisoned for between six and 30 months
  • For three and a half years – if you were imprisoned for six months or less
  • For two and a half years – if you receive a fine or community order
  • For one year – if you were given a caution
  • For the length of the conditional discharge – if you were given a conditional discharge

Can I ask to come off the Sex Offenders Register?

You can only ask to come off the Sex Offenders Register once you have been on the register for 15 years (or eight years if you were under the age of 18 when the offence happened).

However, you cannot ask to come of the register if you are still subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO). This is an order that prevents you from having unrestricted access to the internet or unsupervised time with children.

If you are eligible to request a review, you will need to submit an application to the police. This must provide details about your personal life, including your accommodation, employment and relationships. You must also evidence why you are no longer a risk.

If the police refuse your request to be taken off the Sex Offenders Register, you can pursue an appeal.

Can I travel abroad if I’m on the Sex Offenders Register?

You can travel abroad if you are on the Sex Offenders Register, but you must give the police at least seven days’ notice. You must also provide details of your trip.

You cannot travel abroad if you are subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order that includes a foreign travel restriction.

Will people know that I’m on the Sex Offenders Register?

The public cannot view the Sex Offenders Register (more on this below).

However, the police may decide to tell specific people that you are on the Sex Offenders Register for safety reasons. For example, if you live in shared accommodation, the police may disclose this information to your housemates.

The authorities may also notify certain organisations and individuals about your whereabouts. This includes headteachers in the area where you live, doctors, youth leaders, landlords and sports club managers.

If your employer or a recruiter asks for a criminal record declaration, then you must disclose details of any unspent convictions.

Can I view the Sex Offenders Register?

The Sex Offenders Register is not available to the public. The police have a database which allows information-sharing between different forces, but access is highly restricted.

However, parents, carers and guardians of children can request information about someone who has contact with their child. This is allowed under the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme, also known as Sarah’s Law.

Following the request, the police will carry out a risk assessment, including criminal record checks on the person who makes the application. If the police believe the information should be shared, the police will reveal whether or not the individual has a record of child sexual offences. This information is shared on a confidential basis.

Get expert legal advice

If you are facing allegations relating to one or more sexual offences, contact us today at Ashmans Solicitors. We will do everything we can to limit the consequences of the accusations made against you.

Our defence lawyers can represent you throughout proceedings, including applications and appeals regarding a de-registration from the Sex Offenders Register.

Call us on 0333 009 6275. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You can also email us on enquiries@ashmanssolicitors.com or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we’ll be in touch soon.