Bruce has worked hard to turn his life around after receiving a conviction two years ago. For a while however, it looked as though all his efforts would come to nothing when he was struggling to get insurance for his fledgling business.
In November 2016 I received a conviction for downloading indecent images and received a suspended sentence.
From the very first interview I had with the police, I couldn’t explain why I had downloaded and viewed those images as I knew in my heart that I’d never hurt a child in any way. I knew it was important that I got to the bottom of why I’d done what I did.
For four months following my conviction, I sold practically everything I owned to finance a course for people with sexual offences run by the Lucy Faithful Foundation. Over the course of the 10 week course, I came to understand how my use of porn to offset depression and stress led to an addiction to pornography and ultimately to my downloading indecent images. The course helped me to appreciate the pain and anguish behind the smiling images I’d been looking at and the abhorrent reality those kids were forced to live in.
There’s no escaping the shame and guilt I feel for what I did and the empathy I now have for the victims. In addition, I’ve had to come to terms with the impact my offending and conviction has had on my wife and family and I hope that over time I’ll be able to make amends and prove that I’m a better man than I was before.
Knowing why I did what I did allowed me to work through processes to ensure I’ll never re-offend again and start rebuilding my life.
Initially I was very optimistic; I walked out of court grateful for the chance to start again, a new beginning, a new improved me. The justice system and fate had given me the chance to prove myself and make a new future.
After finding it almost impossible to get a full time job due to my obligation to disclose my offence when asked, I decided to set up my own limited company. I could then do some of the contract work that was being offered to me.
I set up my website, organised business cards etc and began to set about marketing my consultancy. Four weeks ago I secured a really lucrative six month contract with a company, only to have it withdrawn when I disclosed my offence.
It was during this time that I also realised that it was virtually impossible to get professional indemnity insurance meaning I couldn’t put work through the company I’d set up. I never for one minute thought that getting insurance was going to be the thing that bought my business to a halt before it had even started.
I have always worked since leaving school and now more than ever needed to keep the money coming in so I could support myself and pay my way without being a burden on society.
However, now, no matter what I did, the requirement to disclose my offence stopped me from moving forward. As a self-employed person, I felt that fewer people would ask me about my criminal record and, having my own business would be the best option for me. The problem with insurance really started to make me panic as I didn’t know what I’d do when the money ran out.
After some further internet research, I came across Unlock and their list of insurance brokers and after ringing around I managed to get myself some professional indemnity insurance. It wasn’t the most competitively priced but it was affordable which was all that mattered to me. This has given my confidence a real boost and I’ve started to see light at the end of the tunnel. The requirement to disclose is still going to be an issue I am sure but at least now I have more of a chance to support myself and hopefully build on the foundations I now have in place for a successful business.
This is strange to say but the criminal justice system has worked for me. My increasingly introvert lifestyle and resulting unhappy home life was fuelling a downward spiral of depression and unhappiness that had me on a road that was only going to lead to tragedy. My arrest and the subsequent help I received stopped all that. It put me back on track, gave me the help I needed, and has led to a complete lifestyle change.
I now only ever use a computer for work and shopping etc and spend more time hiking, carrying out volunteer work for the National Trust and spending quality time with my family and friends.
I know one thing for certain, however hard it is for me now, it is still preferable to how I was before. As such, I am optimistic for the future and for a better, healthier, more productive life.
By Bruce (name changed to protect identity)