Those being accused and prosecuted for historic sexual offences are under immense pressure. If you or somebody you love is on either end of these circumstances, you’ll know how stressful and upsetting it can be.
Although there is a principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’, there will be times when you feel that everybody assumes you to be guilty. You may feel that your reputation is tarnished until you have proven your innocence.
It’s totally understandable to be feeling under pressure by this type of situation. Therefore, it’s vital that the services of experienced sexual offences solicitors are sought and engaged as soon as it is understood that an investigation is underway or charges are made.
You’re likely to be concerned about how rumours or speculation on a case of this nature may quickly and irreparably damage your reputation. Being treated differently by suspicious friends, colleagues and family members is challenging to handle.
More recently, historic sexual offences have had a lot of media coverage. High profile cases such as Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris, the Catholic Church and several children’s homes have been in the news and on television. This development has prompted more people to come forward and feel more comfortable sharing and addressing their own sexual offence experiences.
The best course of action is to seek competent legal advice immediately. Doing so will not only help with the technical aspects of resolving a matter of this nature, but will also give some peace of mind. Experienced sexual offence lawyers know that this is a sensitive situation and will support you every step of your journey to achieve justice.
Consequently, in some cases, there will be a court case to attend. It’s critical that you actively seek support and legal assistance to prepare for such a possibility.
Have you been accused of historic sexual offences?
If you or a loved one has been accused, arrested or charged with a historic sexual offence, you’ll no doubt be feeling under pressure. You’ll be wondering how this could have happened and what can be done to reverse it.
In some cases, there may have been a mistake made, or it might that be that somebody is seeking financial gain from making an accusation. If the allegations are not genuine and need to be defeated, it’s essential that you address the situation as quickly as possible. By seeking sound professional legal advice as early as possible, there’s a chance that the case could be dismissed before it reaches court.
In this article, we aim to answer some of your questions and provide you with the support and guidance that you need.
Have you been falsely accused of historic sexual offences?
If you’re living with the impact of having been at the receiving end of historic sexual offences, it’s important that you talk to somebody who is sensitive and understanding to help with your case. It’s critical that you engage a solicitor with experience of building a strong case and able to achieve a positive outcome.
What type of actions are considered historic sexual offences?
Here are some examples of historic sexual offences and their outcomes:
A stepdaughter who accused her stepfather of touching her – the stepdaughter reported that the stepfather would touch her when they were home alone. Despite there being other parties who backed up the stepdaughter in her allegations, the case resulted in the stepfather being acquitted.
A wife who accused her partner of historic sexual offences – behind the accusation was child contact issues. The partner was acquitted.
Historic sexual offences that take place at work – an employee was asked to stay behind late at the office and consequently sexually assaulted. The employee won financial damages against her manager when it was revealed that other situations had occurred with other employees.
Regardless of these allegations, it’s essential that you engage an experienced legal professional who has expertise in historical sexual offences and assault. It’s critical that a robust defence is crafted to weaken any accusatory case and achieve justice.
What happens in a historic sexual offences investigation?
When a historic sexual offence is reported to the police, they will take it very seriously. The matter will be thoroughly investigated by law enforcement offices.
There may be lines of enquiry in medical and social services records and an investigation into any other reports and interviews with witnesses. Although in some cases, the passage of time may mean a loss of evidence.
Because every case being is different it can be challenging to predict the outcome. Taking competent professional legal advice will help you to handle the investigation process better.
You’ll most likely discover that you’re being investigated for historic sexual offences when you hear that the police would like to interview you. You may be contacted by letter, telephone or even receive a visit from a police officer. You’ll be issued with a date, a time and a place where your police interview will take place.
It’s your right to consult a solicitor and attend the interview accompanied by your solicitor.
How to handle false accusations of historic sexual offences
In some cases, an accusation of historic sexual offences is not genuine but based on someone trying to gain financial payment. This situation can have an overwhelmingly detrimental effect on the accused. If not handled promptly and correctly, it can detrimentally affect lives. Employment, family, friends, neighbours and acquaintances can all change their perception of a person, even when the accusations are not based on reality.
Therefore, it’s essential to take expert legal advice as quickly as possible.
Without a lawyer, you cannot find out more until after the investigation
When you first hear that you’re under investigation for historic sexual offences, you may not have much information about the details. You could be in the dark about what you are being accused of, who by and what is meant to have happened.
You’re unlikely to find out these details until you’re at the interview itself. In this situation, it’s vital that you find yourself an experienced sexual offence solicitor to support you with their legal experience and expertise. Once you have instructed a solicitor, they will be able to attain this information from the police. You and the legal professional will then have the information that you’ll need to put together a strong defence.
If you don’t instruct a solicitor to take on your case, it’s likely that you won’t find out any details about the situation until you’re at the interview and questioned under pressure.
Another thing you should know is that the police may have requested a warrant to investigate all areas of your life. They will be looking for evidence that the accusations about you are genuine. They may examine your social media accounts, search your home and ask people you know for more information about you.
Typically, you’ll then need to attend a police interview. This police interview will be undertaken using the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE), will be recorded and may be used as evidence in court against you.
Instruct a legal professional as soon as possible
We recommend that you take a sexual offences solicitor with you to your interview with the police. At least two investigation officers will be present in a room as you are formally interviewed.
Hiring a competent sexual offences solicitor before the police interview will give you an advantage in that they will gain disclosure about your case before the meeting. They can then use this information to either get the case dismissed and prepare a strong defence.
The questions asked at the interview could be very probing. You may be shown evidence that the inspectors have gathered to prove the case of the accuser. The interview will be intense, high pressure and at times stressful and upsetting.
As the interview draws to a closure, you may or may not be informed about what will happen next. You may be told that you are being charged. Depending on the seriousness of the matter, you may be told that you will need to attend a court case.
What should you do if you get arrested or charged with historic sexual offences?
Being accused of historic sexual offences can be very stressful. Although it’s up to you whether you take legal representation, we advise you to do so. There are some relatively new laws that have been passed which you may not be aware of and need to be considered.
Our team stay current with all laws and review any changes in sexual offence laws. By hiring one of our specialist team, you can position yourself in the most advantageous legal position with regards to defence.
Enduring anxiety, lack of sleep, depression and mood swings are typical during this time due to the pressure that you’re under as you battle the sexual offence charges. The immense stress will impact your well-being, that of your loved ones and your business may not be fully operational. Your income could be negatively affected.
It’s important that the legal professional that you hire to support you can do so with sensitivity and care. It would help if you had somebody who can understand and be empathetic about your fears, how your family members and spouse may react and what an ordeal this is to go through.
Can the police search my home?
The police can search your home as they will be seeking evidence. A judge or magistrate is likely to have granted access to your property, vehicle, workplace and personal information and the police as law enforcement offices will carry through the search.
Could you go to prison for historic sexual offences?
The law has recently changed with regards to historic sexual offences. This is partly to reflect the attitudes of the public. Whereas sentences used to be minor for offences such as indecent assault, they may now be as much as 15 months imprisonment or more for each offence.
The judge issuing the sentence will consider whether a special position or role was held by you that you took advantage of in order to sexually assault the accuser.
We handle historic sexual offence crimes on a regular basis and have deep expertise in this field. We can help you by recommending the best course of action to take to mitigate the outcome. No matter what size your case is, get in touch.
What type of sentence could you get for historic sexual offences?
If you are convicted, and depending on the charge, you may be imprisoned for a significant period of time. You could be deemed ‘dangerous to the public’ and be issued with a further sentence to protect the public from you.
In instances of a rape convictions for example, it is not uncommon to receive a custodial sentence of around 6 years. If the victim was a child or you were in a position of trust or responsibility, this sentence maybe increased to 10 years or even more. Read more information about sentencing for Historic Sexual Offences
What mitigating factors may be considered in sentencing?
When sentencing for historic sexual offences, your case will be looked at for whether you were abusing your position with regards to the accuser. Any aggravating features will be balanced off with the passage of time and whether or not you have had further offences recorded against you since.
Your achievements, businesses, familial duties will all be taken into consideration too.
Does a conviction for historic sexual offences go on your criminal record?
If you are convicted of historic sexual offences, your conviction will be noted on your CRB / police record. The period of the endorsement will depend on the type and the length of the sentence.
Furthermore, your name will be added to the sex offenders register and you will be required to report routinely to a probation officer who will have significant involvement in your day-to-day life.
How can Stuart Miller Solicitors help?
Every historic sexual offence case we take on is handled in a very private and sensitive way. This type of case can be complex and challenging to unravel. Evidence is hard to secure due to the years that have passed.
Whatever your situation, our team are experienced and have specialist expertise in this area. Every piece of evidence will be checked for unreliability, irrelevance and whether it’s admissible.
It’s important that you take legal representation that can support your case with whatever is required to give you the best possible guidance. The impact of a historical sexual offence conviction can be horrendous, and we do our best to ensure that you have an effective and bullet-proof defence strategy.
What will happen when I instruct a historic sexual offence lawyer?
When you contact us to instruct us to be your lawyer in your historic sexual offence case, we help you to understand exactly what you’re being accused of. We will listen to your side of the story and will guide you through the process. We will then put together a strong defence that will lead to the best possible outcome. You will also be informed of what the potential consequences are of being convicted.
You will feel a lot more at ease about the situation as you’ll know that our team are experienced in historic offences and that we have the expertise to handle your case for you. We have a specialist team who are very up to date on the current law in this area.
Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?
If you’d like to have a no obligation chat with us before you instruct us to take your case, then call us today.
In addition to giving you a free consultation, we can also represent you at the police station if you’ve been arrested. We can also look at securing you legal aid.
Please contact us for a face to face meeting or a telephone call. There is a WhatsApp link on this page if that is your preference.
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