If you or a loved one have just had your devices seized then you are in the right place. You are not alone and doing the right thing is important.
Police dealing with an allegation of online offending may have received intelligence from a number of sources. We commonly see referrals from the Cybertipline used by the NCMEC in North America, to our own NCA and local police forces. These often capture a user’s IP address. Other sources include UK intelligence units, undercover police, vigilantes and complaints from victims or their families in cases involving grooming or incitement. Police may have come with a court warrant. Sometimes they come without a warrant to arrest and seize evidence, or sometimes they may turn up and ask to come in.
Immediately, or shortly after the initial seizure of devices there might be a police interview, under arrest or voluntarily. Then you will be released on bail or under investigation whilst a forensic examination of the devices takes place. Forensic examination rarely takes a few months, often it takes longer than a year. The waiting causes intense stress, and a state of turmoil not knowing what to do or who to turn to. Please get help from someone, whether it’s one of the organisations on the leaflets the police usually give out, someone else you have found or from us.
It may seem hard to believe, but delay can be a positive factor. Where a person wants help, whether or not they have committed an offence, this is an opportunity to address unhealthy behaviour. There is so much that can be done. Self-help steps might begin the process, but getting professional support from those with experience of working in the rehabilitation system is both possible and game changing. Clients who seek such intervention often say things like, ‘profound’, ‘I wish I’d done it years ago’, ‘a weight has been lifted’, ‘I feel so much better’. Getting help is about keeping you well and safe, but it is also about reducing risk and reducing harm.
If your case ends up in court, or a conditional caution is possible, then what you do now will make a difference. It might make all the difference. Sentencing offenders is not just about punishment, it is also about reducing the risk of harm and recognising those for whom there is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation. The risk of harm is reduced by therapy and learning using a variety of sources. It takes time and a commitment to change, but can make a real difference in court.
To read more about our therapy and support packages, click here.