Support for convicted paedophiles and their families (FOI)
Support for convicted paedophiles and their families (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 07 March 2019.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
It was reported in January on the BBC that up to eight people in the UK had committed suicide after being exposed as paedophiles on Social Media following entrapment by online paedophile hunters. This figure was only a conservative estimate and there could be many more. The suicides were due to the uploading of confrontational videos and screen shots from exchanges between alleged paedophiles and decoys to deliberately cause anxiety through humiliation.
With this in mind and an increase of such behaviour in Jersey I would like to know the following:
What help, if any, is given to convicted Paedophiles by the Probation Service to steer them away from online humiliation and self harm after release?
What help, if any, is given to the families of convicted Paedophiles if they are also vilified by Social Media via association?
What connections the States of Jersey Police and Probation Service has with Social Media such as Facebook to control the harassment of convicted Paedophiles?
What guidance, if any, the Police give to Paedophile Hunters in order to dissuade them for vilifying the people they entrap after conviction?
What steps, if any, the Probation Service and Data Protection Commissioner takes to help remove all references to such convictions Offline once Spent under the EU Right to be Forgotten Law?
Please note that the Probation Service and Information Commissioner are not Scheduled Public Authorities and are therefore not covered by Freedom of information (FOI) legislation.
However, Probation have commented on questions A and E.
States of Jersey Police (SoJP) response:
Support is provided by the lead agency – in the main the Police Offender Manager Unit (OMU) but also the Probation and Prison service. Both the Jersey Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (JMAPPA) and SoJP are proactive in respect of responsible on-line material.
Whilst Social Media has its benefits, it can on occasions, be used inappropriately. The breadth and depth of Social Media can be challenging to police. However, where offences are identified and supported by a complaint, positive action is taken.
In part, as at B above. Gateways do exist with Social Media networks and contact can be made to request removal of posts.
The States of Jersey Police do not work with so called ‘Paedophile Hunters’, fundamentally, due to different legal thresholds. That said, lines of communication have to exist and remain open. Issues of responsibility, public protection, safeguarding and vigilantism are addressed.
As mentioned above, the Probation Service and Information Commissioner are not Scheduled Public Authorities and are not bound to respond under FOI legislation.
The SoJP recognises its responsibility in respect to all users the internet and works hard to understand the environment here in Jersey. Contact has been made with Facebook and other Social Media companies in appropriate circumstances and all associated reports to the SoJP are investigated in accordance with relevant legislation, especially the Telecommunications (Jersey) Law 2008.
Officers and staff, especially those working in the OMU, understand the wide range of potential offences that may be committed in these situations, they recognise the risk and influences that occur when such communications are posted and work hard to both support persons where necessary, however also to dissuade and disrupt unwanted attention by others.
The SoJP recognises free speech, however works hard to remind all users of the internet of their responsibilities in respect to the Law and encourages contact with the organisation as opposed to taking matters in their own hands.
Probation response to questions A and E:
All prisoners are allocated a probation officer to assist them throughout their prison sentence. Following release, all prisoners are offered voluntary supervision with their officer and many take advantage of this help. Interventions focus around ways of reducing the risk of reoffending. The Service utilises the expertise of a clinical forensic psychologist with expertise in the treatment of sex offenders. The Service also aims to help clients reintegrate successfully back into the community. Key elements of this are assisting the client to find suitable accommodation and employment.
The Probation service is aware of the right to erasure under Article 32 of the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2018. It recognises the checks and balances inherent in Article 32 but will assist clients in seeking redress where the grounds are met and disclosure is inappropriate.