It’s well established that groomers with particular character traits will turn things around and claim to be victims if caught out. And blame their own victims, loudly.
**** Update: since this was written, progress has been made and the College of Policing has issued advice that PINs should no longer be issued. This article is being left online as there is evidence that not all forces are following the same standards, and you may still need to appeal: https://caage.org/2019/05/31/pin-update/ ****
One of the most common ways, in England and Wales, is to claim harassment (which does a great disservice to people who have genuinely suffered harassment). The standard test for harassment in the UK is only that someone feels harassed, with two supporting pieces of evidence.
These accusations often result in the person they abused, who has been brave enough to speak out and name their abuser, being issued with a PIN (Police Information Notice) by police who want to take the accusation seriously, but also want the situation resolved quickly.
When the Abuser blames the victim
I hope that by calling on my own experience that I can throw some light on why PINs are important to address, but also to offer reassurance, to some extent, if this tactic is used on you or someone you care about.
The ‘man’ who groomed me has repeatedly used the tactic of reporting harassment on his quarry over a long period of time.
I originally researched online, and, based on the advice I found there wrote to the Chief Constable about the PIN I was issued with, who referred my request for non-disclosure back to the PC who had first sent the PIN letter.
She was reassuring (to the extent that she could be) that the PIN notice would only show up on an enhanced DBS check if whatever I was applying for would be affected by the kind of actions I’d taken (in this case naming a groomer publicly, so unlikely in day to day business, I would have to hope).
I hope this offers reassurance if you’ve already had one and are feeling as shocked as I was and are wondering what to do.
The fact that an abuser reports and you’ve had a PIN is only recognition of their complaint, not of your guilt, whatever it feels like to you. Don’t lose sight of that fact.
It doesn’t make the letter feel any better when it’s arrived – in my already distressed state, I felt like I’d been found guilty without a trial and that I would no longer be able to pursue some of my dreams.
Moreover, the man who’d complained, resulting in the police issuing it, has a history of fabricating stories and faking emails/profiles. Not being able to see what evidence he presented was – and is – agonising – he regularly repeats completely false accusations that appear on the list of things I was asked by the police, via the PIN, to stop doing.
My own solicitor’s said they couldn’t ask to see what was said to the police unless it was ahead of a (criminal) court case.
I still feel frustrated and angry, but at least have some minimal reassurance that I’m not branded a criminal. I hope that this minor reassurance will help put the PIN into perspective for others. It IS just an advice.
The better news
The Rt Honourable David Gauke MP, (at the time) Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, wrote in reply to my MP, John Redwood (for whose help I’m eternally grateful), suggesting that PINs are under review.
In the meantime, however, they are open to abuse, and I am delighted to have been able to post up a brilliant article by Arrest the PIN explaining in depth what these are and what the reality behind these notices is.
You can find their explanation and advice here: Should you take any notice of the Police Information Notice aka Harassment Warning and is it a warning at all?
Find out how you can be part of the campaign for protection from adult grooming: Get Involved.