Potential Outcomes

There are a number of potential outcomes of the police investigation, explained briefly below. You may find it helpful to speak to a solicitor for legal advice, rather than researching outcomes yourself.

  • No Further Action  If the Police do not find evidence, the Crown Prosecution Service believes there is not enough evidence, or it is believed a prosecution or caution is not in the public interest, no further action will be taken.

  • Conditional Caution. For some 'lower level' offences, where you take responsibility for the illegal behaviour, the Police and Crown Prosecution Service may feel that the public interest is better served by issuing a Conditional Caution. This would mean you don't have to go to Court. This may have a condition of attending education sessions or other work relevant to your behaviour. You would be added to the sex offender register for a period of two years, but there would be no Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

If your case is prosecuted and you are convicted, the Court will normally be helped to decide upon a sentence by a Pre-sentence Report. These are written by Probation Officers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and by Community Justice Social Workers in Scotland. The Court will consider three different options, briefly explained below.

  • Community Order (called a Community Payback Order in Scotland).  A Community Order can last up to three years. This involves supervision by the Probation Service (or Community Justice Social Workers in Scotland) and requirements such as Unpaid Work, Rehabilitation Days (appointments) with a Probation Officer, group work programmes, electronically monitored curfews. A Community Order comes with five years on the sex offender register.

  • Suspended Sentence. The Court can pass a custodial (prison) sentence, but decide to suspend this for a period of time, up to two years. This means you only go to prison if you reoffend or don't complete requirements with the Probation Service. A prison sentence can only be suspended if the term of imprisonment is two years or under. A Suspended Sentence carries ten years of sex offender registration, or seven years if the period of suspended imprisonment is six months or less. 

  • Immediate Custody (Prison). Some offences are judged to be so serious that immediate imprisonment is seen as the only option. People convicted of sexual offences are offered to reside on a vulnerable prisoner (VP) wing, separating them from the general prison population. Most sentences involve serving half of the sentence in prison and then a minimum of twelve months under Probation licence and supervision. Impriosnemnt of less than 32 months comes with ten years of sex offender registartion upon release, or seven years if the period of suspended imprisonment is six months or less. Lifelong registration is imposed if imprisonment is 32 months or more. 

  • For any conviction through the Courts, you should also expect to receive a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) which will come with conditions of behaviour that are relevant to the offences, such as not deleting internet history, not using private browsing and making devices available for inspection. For comunications offences you should expect some restrictions on contact with children outside of your family.