skip to main content

What is the Sex Offenders’ Register?

As of March 2018, there were approximately 60,000 registered sex offenders in the UK, with these figures confirming sexual offences reported to the police are still on the rise – a trend that has lasted over four years. London alone has seen an 11.8% increase in sexual offences being reported, according to figures collected by the Metropolitan Police for the year to May 2018. With this rise rather evident, many people are asking more questions of the ‘sex offenders register’ or simply looking to understand how it works.

What is the sex offenders’ register (SOR)?

Contrary to what many people believe, there is no centrally held register of sex offenders in England and Wales. The name "the sex offender register" is merely used to describe a system of notification whereby offenders register their details with police. This procedure was introduced in 1997 and includes details of persons convicted, cautioned or released from prison for a sexual offence.

How does it work?

If a person is added to the Sex Offender Register, they are required by law to notify police officers of their name, date of birth and home address within three days of caution, conviction or finding, or upon their lease from custody or detention. They are also responsible for notifying officers of:

  • Any changes to the contact details already registered.
  • The addresses where they’ve stayed for more than 7 days.
  • Any intended travelling 7 days prior to departure.
  • Anywhere they have remained for at least 12 hours at a household or private place where a person under 18 has been present.
  • Their passport, credit card, bank account details and national insurance number.

One of the biggest concerns for people who have been added to the SOR is employment. It’s important to understand that the individual may not need to disclose the offence they committed to their employer, but it will depend on whether the office is spent under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offender Act, the job they applying for and any restrictions that they are subject to, such as that of a Sexual Harm Prevention order.

How long will an offender remain on the register?

Any person serving a jail sentence of 30 months to life is subject to an indefinite term of registration, whilst a sentence of 6 to 30 months is accompanied by 10 years on the register, and a sentence less than 6 months requires registration of up to 7 years. If you, a friend or member of your family is under the age of 18, it’s likely that the length of time on the register is around half that of the adult term.

Applications for De-registration

The law regarding SOR requirements changed in 2012 and individuals who are subject to indefinite registration can apply for a review of whether they must remain subject to SOR requirements after they have been on the register for 15 years. If you or someone you know is seeking removal from the sex offenders’ register or are facing an allegation concerning a sexual offence, we can provide honest, sensitive and professional advice, and we have an excellent record defending these types of allegations. To speak to us about your needs, please call 07000 81 82 83 or email us at

Read next article