Challenging the Length of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order

Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) is a legal tool aimed at protecting the public from individuals who pose a risk of sexual harm. While SHPOs serve an important purpose in safeguarding communities, there may be situations where you believe the length of the order is unjust or disproportionate. If you find yourself in such a situation, it’s essential to understand how to challenge the length of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to assert your rights and seek fairness in the duration of an SHPO.


Understand the SHPO

Before challenging the length of an SHPO, familiarise yourself with its terms and conditions. Pay close attention to the specific restrictions and requirements outlined in the order, as well as the duration set by the court. Understanding the order’s details will help you articulate your concerns effectively.

Note that only indeterminate SHPO/SOPOs can be challenged. A SHPO/SOPO given as part of a sentence for a fixed period (usually 10 years, 7 years or 5 years) cannot be challenged, as these are set in Statute (i.e. defined in law).


Seek Legal Advice

Challenging the length of an indeterminate SHPO is a complex legal process that requires expert guidance. It’s highly recommended to consult with a qualified solicitor or barrister experienced in sexual offences and criminal law. They can assess the details of your case, provide an objective evaluation, and guide you through the legal procedures involved.


Gather Evidence

To challenge the length of an SHPO, you’ll need to present compelling evidence that supports your argument. This evidence may include, but is not limited to, changes in circumstances, rehabilitation progress, character references, therapy or treatment reports, employment or education achievements, and any other relevant information that demonstrates your reduced risk and positive development.


Contact Your Legal Representative

Once you have gathered the necessary evidence, reach out to your legal representative to discuss your intention to challenge the length of the SHPO. Provide them with all relevant documentation and details of your case. Your legal representative will guide you on the appropriate course of action and represent your interests during the legal proceedings.


File an Application to the Court

Your legal representative will help you prepare and file an application to the court to challenge the length of the SHPO. This application should clearly outline the grounds on which you are challenging the order and present the supporting evidence you have gathered. The court will review your application and decide whether to grant a hearing to consider the matter further.


Attend the Court Hearing

If the court grants a hearing, you will have the opportunity to present your case before a judge. It is essential to be well-prepared, composed, and respectful throughout the hearing. Your legal representative will advocate on your behalf, presenting the evidence and legal arguments to support your request for a shorter duration of the SHPO.


Await the Court’s Decision

After the court hearing, the judge will consider the arguments presented by both sides and make a decision regarding the length of the SHPO. The court’s decision will be based on the evidence, legal principles, and the specific circumstances of your case. It’s important to be patient and await the court’s decision while maintaining open communication with your legal representative.


Don’t Become Complacent

Stay on top of your notification requirements, remember that the SHPO is not the same as the Sexual Offenders Register. Remain aware of when your convictions become spent and proactively reach out to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and don’t be shy to request a review of your DBS certificate and challenge what should no longer be shown.

Challenging the length of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order requires careful preparation, legal expertise, and a clear presentation of evidence. By seeking professional legal advice, gathering compelling evidence, and following the proper legal procedures, you can assert your rights and work towards a fair and proportionate duration for the SHPO. Remember, each case is unique, and the outcome will depend on the individual circumstances and the court’s assessment of the evidence presented.