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Section 162 of Powers of Criminal Courts Sentenncing Act 2000

Pre-Sentence Report

Name of Offender: Michael Sean

Date of Birth: 18 June 1999

Offence(s) and Date(s): Sexual molestation/21 October 2016

1. Sources of Information

The information has been collated after speaking with the offender, Michael; the victim and the victim’s mother; the therapist working with Michael at this time; Michael’s social worker; and the police officer in charge of investigation into the offence.

2. Offence Analysis

Michael is a seventeen years old boy who has committed a sexual offence. He has sexually molested a girl who is 12 years of age. The offence involves Michael touching the girl inappropriately and other inappropriate behaviour that Michael indulged in with the girl. Other than that, there is no evidence of penetration or sexual intercourse between Michael and the girl. However, Michael has behaved inappropriately and the girl first reported the behaviour to her mother and then to the police.

The victim is a neighbour of Michael and her mother works as a waitress in the restaurant at nights and leaves her daughter alone at home. The inappropriate behaviour was going on for 4 months before the victim told he mother what was happening. The victim has stated that Michael first started coming over to ‘keep her company’. She was grateful to him was also flattered that an older boy was taking interest in her well-being, when he could be out with his friends. Initially, Michael would sit and watch TV with her for a couple of hours and then go back to his place. There was no inappropriate behaviour at these initial meetings.

After some days, Michael started behaving inappropriately with the victim, but she did not understand at first because she thought she was misunderstanding these accidental touches. Then Michael’s behaviour changed and he started forcing the victim into inappropriate behaviour with him, including watching pornographic content on the internet and also sexual behaviour. He also threatened to tell all her school friends if she told her mother or anyone about the sexual behaviour. Michael also made her drink bear with him before indulging in the sexual acts. After some weeks of this behaviour when Michael’s attitude became more obnoxious and the molestation became more physically inappropriate, the victim started denying entry to Michael, but he threatened her again that he would tell all her friends if she did not let her in. Then, the victim got scared and allowed Michael in. Now Michael’s behaviour became more forceful with her. Finally, when she could take it no more, she told her mother. Michael was arrested immediately after that and he confessed to the offence.

3. Offender Assessment

These are not the first and only acts of deviance in Michael. Since he was 14 years of age, Michael has been involved in violent behaviour. His behaviour has included truancy, violence and he has also been involved with gangs. Michael does not have a substance abuse problem but he started drinking at a very young age.

Michael’s life has been difficult since his mother passed away. His father works as a car mechanic and is known to be violent with Michael. His father was also arrested once for domestic violence against Michael’s mother but the case was dropped, when Michael mother’s changed her statement. Michael was at the time 10 years of age. Soon after, his mother dies of cancer. Michael does not have any siblings and neighbours have spoken about the father’s violent behaviour to Michael after the death of Michael’s mother, when he was only 10 and a half years of age. Michael faced sexual abuse from his father’s partner who moved into their home when he was eleven years of age. She was 50 and it seems that she forced Michael to have intercourse with her. At this time, he was removed from his father’s care amid allegations of sexual abuse and neglect.

Michael has lived in a sheltered accommodation since and he has no contact with his father anymore. Michael has spoken to his social worker about sexual abuse from someone at the shelter, but he says that the person does not live in the shelter anymore and he does not want to name him and cause any trouble.

Michael has a stuttering problem and he usually avoids befriending people his own age because they make fun of his stuttering. He also had some fights in his school because of this and beat up some boys in his class who were making fun of him and troubling him. After that he stopped going to school as well.

4. Assessment of Risk and Dangerousness (including risk of re-offending and risk of harm)

Michael has a propensity to befriend children years younger than himself, probably because of bullying at school he faced from girls and boys his age. Michael has never had problems befriending younger people because he is a very pleasant boy if he wants to be. He is even helpful and kind to younger people. The inappropriate behaviour with the victim is the only known instance of sexual molestation known against Michael. That said, this incident does demonstrate that younger children are at a risk from Michael as he has shown a propensity to deviant sexual behaviour in his behaviour with the victim and also a cunning with which he blackmailed the victim into silence and submission.

Michael does not have the necessary social skills to befriend people his own age and he enjoys the hero worship he gets from kids younger than himself. This is the chief behavioural trait in Michael which needs to be corrected, as this places younger children at risk from Michael, who may commit sexual offences against them. Michael is definitely a lonely, depressed and troubled person and he has had a difficult childhood as he has witnessed domestic violence as well as been a victim of violent behaviour from his father and sexual abuse from his father’s partner. Michael is frequently involved in fighting as well and definitely has an alcohol abuse problem as well.

Michael has shown some progress with his social worker. However, he is a lonely person in general. Also he does not have any relatives to fall back on and the only people he is familiar with are those that he lives with in the shelter and the social worker. He does not really interact with people his change and does show a tendency to befriend younger children, although none of these children have reported sexual abuse by Michael. He does not have history of drug abuse.

Michael’s case has definitely invited some local attention and parents are concerned that he poses risk to younger children. The local police and parents of the victim are asking for a custodial sentence for Michael. Michael’s therapy has been largely successful and the therapist is opposed to a custodial sentence, as she feels that Michael may benefit from a community sentence, but a custodial sentence may harden him as he may come in close contact with criminals. She feels that Michael’s history of sexual abuse also makes him vulnerable to sexual abuse in the prison and she is of the opinion that Michael may make better progress as an individual and member of society if he serves community sentence and gets regular therapy. She also feels that an opportunity to mingle with people his own age after his therapy has progressed will help him get self confidence.

Michael’s major trouble seems to be abuse of alcohol, although he is not an alcoholic. Therapy has also revealed that Michael is depressed and repressed about his emotions and feelings and has trouble opening up about his mother and how her death affected him emotionally. He never talks about his father. Therapeutic sessions have also revealed that Michael has attempted suicide once. He does not have any suicidal thoughts at the moment, but he is definitely depressed. He has also expressed relent for his behaviour with the victim.


5. Conclusion

Michael is undoubtedly guilty of the offence and his behaviour cannot be taken lightly considering the age of the victim and the impact of the crime on the victim. Victim impact statement shows that the victim was very shaken up by Michael’s behaviour, which was traumatic for her. Now she has trouble being left alone by her mother for long durations and her mother has had to take a pay cut in order to stay with her daughter at night. The victim has also become very withdrawn from her friends and family and has become reclusive in class and other activities.

At the same time, Michael’s young age and circumstances are extenuating circumstances, which must be considered by the court while making the sentence for the offence. Michael has had a very difficult childhood and has himself been a victim of both domestic as well as sexual abuse. These factors combined with the fact that he is bullied by his peers and has difficulty befriending people his own age is a factor that pulls him closer to those younger than himself.

6. Recommendation(s) to the Courts.

It is recommended that Michael be given a community sentence instead of a custodial sentence. Michael’s case should be treated by Sex Offender Treatment Programmes (SOTP).

SOTP is suitable programme for Michael as there are a number of programmes that are covered by SOTP and can be used for Michael. The Belief in Change is an appropriate programme for Michael and it is recommended that this programme be used in the case instead of custodial sentencing. This is a one year long programme and involves community living, individual coaching and mentoring. This will benefit Michael as he sorely needs a stable and guiding influence at this time in his life. This programme will help Michael build better links with the wider community in which he lives, by increasing his employability.

As pointed out by the therapist working with Michael, a mental health service is needed for him. Michael is depressed and has attempted suicide before. He lacks social skills and his sexual abuse as a young boy. Therefore, he needs psychiatric intervention to understand the problems that he faced as a child and how they have affected him. I believe this person is medium risk of serious harm and category 1 on MAPPA and he is a young offender who committed child sex offences following Sexual Offences Act 2003, s.13.

The notification period for Michael’s case is originally 5 years but it was reduced to two and a half years as he is under 18 years of age.

Michael should be responsible to notify the Youth offending teams and police officers every month till the remainder of his sentence. In case he commits a similar offence in future, the notification period to the police and Youth offending team can be doubled. In that case, the sentence can also be doubled.

In the meantime, Michael’s therapy should be continued and he should be given the facility to be allowed to reform his behaviour and learn to be responsible for himself. As Michael is young and impressionable, it is important that the Youth offending teams ensure that they monitor his movements and ensure that he does not fraternize with gang members and other anti-social elements.

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