We’ve previously published stories which have demonstrated some of the positive ways in which people have moved on after receiving a conviction for a sexual offence, in particular ‘Functioning on a daily basis with a sexual offences order’ and ‘For better or worse – my relationship with a sex offender’. Greg’s story shows a very different experience.
I was convicted of possessing a small number (not that numbers are important) of indecent images of children in 2016, following a search of my flat in 2014. The 22 months in between were indescribable. When my case eventually reached court, I was relieved that I wasn’t given a custodial sentence but my life had pretty much ended anyway. You can’t be accused of such a crime, much less convicted, without it haunting you for the rest of your life.
At a snap I lost my job, my home, the majority of my friends, access to children in my family, any self-respect or self-esteem that I might have had and any respect that anyone had ever had for me.
I had 15 years experience of working with young people in paid and voluntary roles (the pictures relating to my conviction had nothing to do with any young person I worked with) without any allegations or inappropriate behaviour, because no such behaviour took place. I was passionate about working hard and doing the best job I could do.
Obviously that line of work – virtually all I had ever done – is closed to me forever now. I have so little experience in any other work that with the conviction, the lack of recent employment history and severe depression, anxiety and insomnia, I can’t see how I will ever work again.
Because I don’t work I have no permanent home, I stay in spare rooms with relatives. I don’t socialise – well maybe once every six months, but all that happens is that after a few drinks my situation comes up and my friends tell me to get over it and get a job.
I know 100% that I will never get involved in a relationship for the rest of my life because I have no intention of putting anyone through the process of finding out about me and I’m not about to volunteer myself for the subsequent constant rejection.
I had two main ambitions in life, which were to write a novel (or several), and to be more involved in politics, even though I had been active for most of my life in one way or another. Obviously, politics is another closed door for me now and if I wrote a novel and sent it to publishers even on the off-chance they accepted it, they would do background checks and refuse, and if that didn’t happen someone who knew me when all of this began would ring some newspaper or other and it would be hell.
So there is nothing left. I struggle to wake up, I carry out the basic things a human needs to do to exist and I drink and go to bed. This is all apart from the myriad appointments I have with probation, the job centre, mental health services, substance abuse etc.
I know there are positive stories on theRecord about living with a sexual offence and some people cope really well. I just have to say that there is another side to this too and when those pictures were found on my computer, I ceased to exist in almost every way.
The victims are of course the children in any kind of child abuse imagery – it can destroy their lives before they’ve even had a chance to live. So I post not for sympathy – I know none will be forthcoming anyway. I was 34 when all this began and have been passing time waiting to disappear ever since, knowing that I am no longer a part of society and never will be again.
By Greg (name changed to protect identity)
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