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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

16 DEC 2005

CHILD ABUSE/CRIMINAL LAW: R v D (Sexual Offences Prevention Order) [2005] EWCA Crim 2951

(Court of Appeal; Scott Baker LJ, Gross J and Judge Griffith; 16 December 2005) [2006] 1 FLR 1085, (2006) The Times, January 3

Following the father's plea of guilty to sexual abuse charges concerning the daughter, the court imposed a sexual offences prevention order which included a prohibition on the father's contact with the son, although there had been no allegations of sexual abuse concerning the son.

When regard was had to the wording of Sexual Offences Act 2003, s 104 it seemed clear that a risk of future offending was needed to justify a sexual offences prevention order. The court should therefore have conducted a risk assessment and considered the likelihood of the father committing a further offence and the son being caused serious harm as a result, even if not the victim of the offence. There was jurisdiction, and in this case it was desirable, to reflect the family courts jurisdiction in the sexual offences prevention order, because of the greater flexibility that it provided. The court made an order in terms that the father should not, without the order of a judge exercising jurisdiction under the Children Act 1989, communicate or seek to communicate, whether directly or indirectly with the child while he remained under the age of 16 years. Any judge considering in family proceedings the welfare of a child who was protected by an order would no doubt wish to have in mind s 108(6) of the 2003 Act prohibiting discharge within 5 years without the necessary consents.

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