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Sex Offenders

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 16 September 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what advice, training and support is given to staff in the National Offender Management Service in ensuring that sex offenders operating (a) in online forums and (b) in other areas do not pose a danger to children. (288878)

Probation Officers in the National Offender Management Service are trained to undertake a comprehensive assessment of all sexual offenders prior to sentence, using evidence based assessment tools, including Risk Matrix 2000 which has been designed specifically to assess the likelihood of reconviction for a sexual offence. The assessments are used to create a risk management plan for the offender, and, if online offending was assessed to be likely, this would be addressed in the risk management plan. For the most serious sexual offenders, the risk assessment and risk management will be undertaken within the context of the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA). Within MAPPA, the Police Probation and Prison Services work together to assess and manage the risks presented by the most serious sexual offenders.

For sexual offenders subject to licensed release from custody, licence conditions may prohibit them from, for example, using the internet or may exclude them from places where they might pose a risk of harm to children. If they breach their licence conditions, they are liable to be recalled to custody. In addition, the most high risk offenders will be required to reside in approved premises on release from custody. In approved premises, offenders are subject to strict conditions of residence and additional monitoring.

The National Offender Management Service provides guidance, in the form of prison service orders, instructions and manuals, to prison and probation staff to ensure sex offenders do not pose a danger to children while in custody. In addition, specific training and support is given to staff who deliver sex offender treatment programmes.