Sex workers, abuse, and criminal records: judicial review hearing

On 17 and 18 January at the High Court in London, an important hearing is taking place to challenge the law that certain offences (despite being spent) effectively stay on a person’s record. It concerns the “sexual offences” that prostitutes were said to have committed and for which they were prosecuted and cautioned, even though the women concerned were in fact victims of abuse and coercion themselves.

The relevant legislation under challenge is the exceptions in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 which enables employers and others, through the Disclosure and Barring Scheme (DBS), to take into account spent criminal convictions when assessing an applicant’s suitability.  The claim argues that the operation of the scheme in respect of offences under section of 1 of the Street Offences Act is unlawful and contrary to Articles 4, 8 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights - as well as being in breach of our international UN treaty commitments in respect of CRC and CEDAW.

See here for the Press Release from the Centre of Women’s Justice.