This petition was originally published by Kim and can be found at Petitions24.com.  Many of you will have come across similar problems and may have been prevented from completing a course of study due to problems securing work placements. If you agree with the issues raised, please support Kim by visiting the website and signing her petition.   

Update

We’re delighted to hear that Kim has had a meeting with the College Principal who was very positive and told her she had the full support of the College and would be able to continue with her education and attend the work placement that she was originally denied.  Kim stated:-

“I’m so emotional right now so can’t think of what to write other than thank you. I will continue to fight for people with an offending background to break down the barriers I faced. The last week has been so stressful but I can finally look forward to my future again.” 

 

Barriers to education- See the person, not the offence

My name is Kim. I am a student studying for an HNC working with communities. Part of my course is to do a 200 hours work placement. I found my own placement and submitted my pvg. I was as honest as I could be and my pvg came back with no restrictions and I wasn’t barred from working with anyone but, my previous convictions where on it!

In 2005 I was charged with a toxic crime racial assault which of course I deeply regret! I have never been nor am racist. It was a reaction I really regret I didn’t understand the impact this sort of behaviour would have on another but I do now I learned from my mistakes. Due to this 10 year old crime my college won’t let me do the placement as a student therefore I can’t complete the work so will fail my full course. If I fail the course then I won’t get into university which has been a real motivation to me in turning my life around!

It took me 2 years to get into college in the first place I had to fight and prove myself worthy of the place. I do have an offending back round one that I  regret but I can’t change it I’m not a bad person I just made some bad choices and it’s because of my background I want to help other young people who have been in my situation and I’ve done everything In my power to turn my life around and give my wee boy the life I never had. I speak at events about how I turned my life around and I am passionate about helping young people stay clear off committing offences so they are not in the position I am in now!

I was 17 at the time of the offence leading up to that night. I had been sleeping rough my life was out of control but the last few years all I have done is make positive changes in my life and have done everything to become a hard working member of society. I have a clean pvg so why should I still be punished for crimes I committed 10 years ago! I am passionate about change I want a career in the criminal justice system helping young people before they get into offending. I feel I am being forced out of the college I love and the course I love and I haven’t been given valid reasons. They said they where following a college policy but when challenged it turned out they don’t even have one in place for ex offenders!! So I’m facing this prejudice and descions are being made by people who dont know me. They just look at a bit of paper and see the crime not the person, they have me high risk in the college scoring system but none of them have met me & yet my pvg is fine, I feel I’m being discriminated against and all I want to do is finish my education.

Please share my petition and help me break down barriers to education for people with a offending background we must not be defined by our crimes I have changed – why should I still be punished?? I want to continue my education please help me raise awareness not just  for me but anyone else in my position as everyone has a right to have a education no matter what your background is. Thank you ❤️

 

Following the petition going live, Kim has made the folliwng comment on the Petitions24.com website:-

Firstly I’d like to thank you all so much for all the support. I am overwhelmed at how many signatures, shares and lovely messages I have received in such a short space of time. I find it really hard to express myself on this matter as I feel like it has been a never ending cycle of disappointments over the last few years and the only thing that keeps me strong is the love I have for my son and my determination not to fail him and give him the life he deserves. I always get within reaching distance like everything is going well and then out of the blue my past haunts me and I’m back again having to fight and prove I’m not the person people assume I am because of my behaviour when I was at the lowest points of my life.

My heart is pounding out of my chest as I write this as I am terrified of what the outcome of this can be but I know I have to stand up for myself. I’m so tired of being rejected because of my past. Why am I still doing a sentence for offences I committed when I was seriously off the rails. My life wasn’t easy, I made really bad choices and I will never excuse anything. I have no excuses, I own every single think I ever did wrong and I’m deeply sorry to anyone my behaviour ever affected. I have learnt from my mistakes and turned my life around, is that not what matters?? When am I allowed to just be Kim in the here and now. Not Kim the ex-offender. Why can’t I get an education or job without facing barriers?? I have the right to just be Kim and not have the past hang over me for the rest of my life. I did my sentence but it feels like I am doing life with the past and I want out of this prison of being rejected and judged – I am not my crimes!

I will keep everyone posted on my journey. Please keep sharing and help me get on the placement and finish my course. I really believe convictions spent should be automatically wiped off PVG’s. I believe if there are no bars or restrictions on your PVG then employers or college/university should not get to see your convictions! The PVG is to protect vulnerable groups so who’s protecting us once we have paid back out debt to society and if we are not a risk to anyone? We are people that made mistakes that’s all.

Thank you all so much again from the bottom of my heart I will reply to you all if I can.

 


This content originated from: Petition24.com
Available at Petition24.com (last accessed 22nd January 2016)

 

Useful links

  • Comment – Let us know your thoughts on this post by commenting below
  • Information – We have practical self-help information on applying to university on our Information Hub.
  • Discuss this issue – There are some interesting discussions related to this from people with convictions on our online forum
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