Sexual offences prevention order (SOPO)

Police can apply to the courts for a civil order if they can show that someone poses a threat of serious sexual harm. But they are most commonly secured when someone is convicted of a sexual offence.

In 2022, changes to legislation allowed both prohibitions and positive requirements to be imposed on an offender through these orders (previously they were just prohibitions). For example:

  • prohibition: an offender is prohibited from having any contact with a child directly or indirectly unless in certain approved circumstances; and
  • positive requirement: an offender must present their electronic devices to be examined by the police.

Failure to comply with the requirements can result in arrest and up to five years imprisonment.

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