IOC perpetrators children and partners

Dear All,

In relation to the following queries regarding children and partners of IIOC offenders, here is a summary of responses received;

1; Does your Force put anything in place for children and partners of IIOC offenders, other than a referral to Children’s Services regarding live abuse offending?

2; Does your Force consider with the consent of the partner, notification to the children’s school as appropriate, in order to allow the school to monitor the child/ren for any trauma related behaviour/concerns?

3; When a SHPO is put in place are specific and relevant restrictions shared with the partner, to allow reporting of any breaches to be made?

One force responded with the following information;

I am responsible for managing the Police Online Investigation Team (POLIT). We investigate offences linked to IIOC and other online offences, such as incitement. Our priority is always the protection and welfare of children and other vulnerable persons.

1; Our POLIT provide partners of offenders with an in-house produced Family Pack, containing useful information and details of organisations/support agencies. We recognise there is a real need for a specific service to support partners and children of online offenders, who suffer the fallout when enforcement action is taken/offender arrested. Our POLIT would welcome the opportunity to assist organisations to develop support services such as this.

2; Our POLIT consider child protection/safeguarding during enforcement action and where necessary contact is made with the relevant Public Protection Units to consider these matters further to ensure appropriate intervention/safeguarding action. Our POLIT also submit Public Protection Notification (PPN) referrals to the relevant Public Protection Unit for the same purpose. Where necessary Public Protection Units share copies of the PPN referrals with the Social Services Department, Education Department, etc., depending on the circumstances of the referral.

3; The SHPO comes into force when the offender is released from prison (if sentenced to a term of imprisonment) and otherwise post sentence. Our MOSOVO staff (Offender Managers) are responsible for managing offenders and monitoring compliance with SHPO prohibitions. There will be occasions when it is appropriate to share details of SHPO prohibitions with others in the interests of child protection/safeguarding.

Another force lead replied with the following response;

1; Partners and relatives of IIOC offenders are signposted as a matter of course to the Lucy Faithfull Foundation. Referrals are always made to Children’s Social Care in relation to children who have direct contact with suspects be there evidence of live abuse offending or not.

2; This would fall under the remit of Children’s Social Care within our area once police have made a referral. Children’s Services have access to information from a number of partners and are best placed to assess suitability to share such.

3; Relevant and specific restrictions would be shared with the partner with safeguarding of any children being of paramount importance.

Another force lead replied with the following;

1; No our force does not put anything in place for children and partners of IIOC offenders, other than a referral to Children’s Services regarding live abuse offending

2; If there are safeguarding concerns then we share with education regardless of consent of parent

3; MOSOVO would test any partner’s knowledge of the conviction/conditions of SHPO and then make a disclosure to them if they don’t know after providing the subject an opportunity to tell them personally in their presence. MOSOVO ensure that safeguarding is in place for all families once a nominal has been registered as an RSO. They then ensure that appropriate disclosures are made and that all safeguards are in place.

Another force lead replied with the following information;

1; We would have a child protection strategy discussion with C&YPS and make sure that partners were aware of the detail of the investigation so they can protect appropriately and there would be a safeguarding plan in place. We would consider if the threshold for S.17 or S.47 had been met or not. If the suspect did not self-disclose we would consider third party disclosure. We would also consider what support may be available. The Lucy Faithful Foundation provide support services for partners and families of offenders.

2; I am not confident we do consider with the consent of the partner, notification to the children’s school as appropriate, in order to allow the school to monitor the child/ren for any trauma related behaviour/concerns.

3; Yes, we would expect the suspect to notify and if they didn’t, we would work with social services to agree a third party disclosure.

Another force lead responded with the following;

1; SSD as the lead agency are notified of all IIOC cases, regardless of circumstances.

2; Disclosures to school would be made by SSD.

3; This would be done by our Sex And Violent Offender Unit.

Another force lead replied with the following;

1; Our force deal with referrals from Industry through a specialist team – Child Internet Exploitation Team (CIET) which is made up of both police and police staff investigators. The majority of the investigators are accredited Serious Child Abuse Investigators (SCAI(DP)).

The visit to a property where a suspect and their family live is completed as low key as possible with unmarked cars being taken and all officers being in plain clothes. The immediate knock is conducted by the supervisor, the investigating officer and a third officer for arrest.

The initial intelligence is shared with the suspect alone where a clear suspect has been identified with the supervisor having the initial contact with partner/wife to begin the disclosure. This arrest and disclosures are not done in the presence of children, even older children.

Signposting is provided to the partner by way of accessing GP with assistance provided by police where requested and to Stop It Now.

Advice is always provided in relation to options and safeguarding of children going forward.

Officers do not speak with the children unless there is a suspicion of contact offences or a particular concern is raised by family members due to the knowledge of how speaking with a police officer is likely to impact on a child.

A Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) referral (PPD1) is completed in every case where children are either at the home or the suspect is likely to have contact with (ie wider family – grandchildren, nieces/nephews). A referral is not left to only contact offences.

Where the suspect returns to the family home Children’s Services would normally put in a safety plan with the family.

2; As detailed above a referral is made in every case where children are identified as likely to be having contact with the suspect. This referral is not made directly to Children’s Services but to the MASH team covering the area the child lives. The MASH is a team with representatives from Police, Children’s Services, Health and Education working together for information sharing and safeguarding.

3; Not as a general rule. By the point of sentence we generally do not have contact with the family for a “straight forward” IIOC investigation. Were contact offences to be part of the investigation we would be in close liaison with relevant persons and this would be shared.

Another force lead responded;

1; In our force area, one of our districts has a key worker based within the complex safeguarding hub who will go out on the warrant with police, if risk assessment deems suitable. This key worker will then assess needs of the children and the partner and provide support to them throughout, picking up some of the issues that are highlighted in the paper including suicide prevention for the suspect as well as practical support.

We have a working group which is made up of Police lead, area Suicide Prevention Programme manager, Liaison and Diversion manager and NHS mental health managers. This group is submitting a paper to our Combined authority to secure funding for further support workers to extend this pilot across the force area. They will also look at practical options, which have been raised in the paper such as housing, finance etc.

2; Where necessary, the school will be contacted and/or invited to a strategy meeting should one be deemed necessary. The strategy meeting would not require the consent of the parent/guardian under current Working Together guidelines

3; Our Sex Offender Manager Unit as part of their initial assessment will share conditions of the SHPO with the partner and will assess if who is a protective factor within their social network. This is part of the ARMS assessment and should be conducted as a matter of course.

Another force lead responded with the following;

1; Where we have a suspect that is arrested that lives with children we normally make a preliminary approach to the public protection referral unit and children’s social care so they are aware that their support will be required. Sufficient disclosure will be made. Consideration is then given to the best means of safeguarding children between the police and CSC and this will include bail with conditions, released under investigation, contract of expectations with safeguarding parent etc. We also offer the partners of suspects the support of the Lucy Faithful Foundation. We talk them through what may be offered and provide the leaflet.

2; At present we do not notify children’s school – the referral to Children’s Services is made to enable them to best manage the safeguarding of the children and to share information with other services they feel need to know to do this.

3; SHPOs are in the public domain as they are normally applied on the back of a criminal conviction so there should be no barrier to the conditions being shared with the offender’s partner / ex-partner.

Another force lead replied with the following;

Regarding schools notification– if there is a strategy meeting education should be there or at least consulted so they will be aware of the issues and should provide the pastoral care.

When a SHPO is in place it should be shared with the partner and this can be done under either Claire’s or Sarah’s law processes.

As a force with offenders we will conduct a risk assessment and offer support at time of release from custody. In term of family members this will come through the strat process.

Another force lead responded;

I am not aware that we do anything in IIOC cases other than PPN submissions and risk assessments for the child’s safety.

In terms of notifying the school I am not aware of any cases where the Police have made disclosures but it may be something that is done via out partners.

If there was a SHPO in place and there was a potential risk to a child then consideration would be given to making a disclosure to the responsible person in the interest of safeguarding.

Another force lead replied with the following;

In response to your questions about what is done for families of IIOC offenders we have a pack of the leaflets and useful phone numbers that we currently give to the family. We are also in the process of formalising this and have a leaflet at the printers being produced. This has been copied from South Wales Police who already have a very good one.

At this time we don’t specifically contact the children’s school however Education is often a part of any strategy discussion we have with Children Services and so they may be made aware at a later date. We are looking to change this so that in every occasion the school are informed when we have executed a warrant with children at the address.

With regards to the SHPO we would share details if necessary, in order to monitor the conditions.

From the responses received from forces there appears to be some really effective practice being undertaken by POLIT teams, our aim is to make this practice consistent nationally……watch this space!

Kay Wallace

Police and Justice Lead

Office: 01332 585371

Mobile: 07399 449039

Email:  kay@nwgnetwork.org