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What Is A Sexual Harm Prevention Order?
Sexual Harm Prevention Orders (SHPOs) replaced the sexual offences prevention order. They are a measure available to the court to use to protect the general public or specific members of the public against serious sexual harm.
The court can only impose such an order if they are satisfied that the order is necessary and that the order is made specifically to protect a person or sector or the public.
A Sexual Harm Prevention Order can be made by the magistrates court or Crown Court at the point of sentencing for a sexual or violent crime, or following a complaint made about a person previously convicted of a sexual offence where their behavior suggests that they may re-offend.
A full risk assessment of the defendant must be carried out before an Order is made, and once made, an Order will most likely be in force for several years together with separate requirements including a disqualification from working with children. The imposing of an Order will make the defendant subject to the sex offenders register, even if they were not previously on the register.
Breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order is a separate penalty and carries a sentence of up to five years imprisonment.
Draft proposals for these Orders should be prepared and submitted by the prosecution in advance of the SHPO hearing, something that often does not happen and requires assertive advocacy to remedy.
A Sexual Harm Prevention Order may prohibit a defendant from doing anything set out in the order, but these requirements should only be made due to necessity and for public protection.
There are restrictions on the prohibitions that an Order can impose, with disproportionate prohibitions such as not allowing the defendant to own a computer being unjustifiable.