Mr Cross disclosed information to BACP, which was considered under Article 12.6 of the Articles of Association.
The summary of the information received is as follows:
Mr Cross was sentenced at Maidstone Magistrates Court on 23rd June 2017 for the following offenses: Affray; Assault; Assault PC; Criminal damage. In total, he received a custodial sentence of 126 days. [ . . . ]. [ . . . ] Mr Cross may have failed to abide by paragraph 75 of the Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions, by not taking responsibility for his own wellbeing, which is essential to sustaining good practice.
The nature of the information raised questions about the suitability of Mr Cross’ continuing membership of this Association and it raised concerns about the following in particular:
• Mr Cross’ alleged actions have brought, or may yet bring, not only this Association, but also the reputations of counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute;
• Mr Cross’ alleged behaviour is incongruent with that which is expected of a member of BACP;
• The information further suggests that there may have been a serious breach, or breaches, of the Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions, in particular, but not limited to paragraph 75.
Article 12.6 Panel's Decision
The Panel carefully considered all the evidence submitted by Mr Cross, including his response to the notification dated 16th November 2017, and decided to implement Article 12.6 of the Articles of Association.
Mr Cross’ membership will be withdrawn subject to appeal. Mr Cross had 28 days from the date of notification of this report to make an appeal. In the absence of an appeal, notification would be given to Mr Cross by the Chair of the Association with regard to the withdrawal of membership.
In addressing the issues before it the Panel gave due consideration to all evidence supplied by Mr Cross and his response to the notification dated 16th November 2017. The Panel considered the following points to be central in its decision making;
• The Panel recognised that Mr Cross had taken steps to minimise the impact of his situation and state of health on his clients by suspending his counselling services when he became aware of [ . . . ]. For these reasons, the Panel did not consider the evidence indicated Mr Cross had committed a serious breach of paragraph 75 of the Ethical Framework.
• It was noted that Mr Cross had given little information about the events that led to his convictions. But the Panel determined that the violent nature of the offences, and the inclusion of assaults on police officers, indicated their seriousness, which was reinforced by the court’s decision to pass a custodial sentence.
• The Panel observed that Mr Cross had provided little mitigation in respect of the events leading to his conviction, though he attributed his actions to the effect on his state of mind of [ . . .]. However, the Panel noted that notwithstanding the mitigation apparently offered to the court by Mr Cross’ solicitor before sentencing, the court had considered it necessary to imprison him for reasons of public safety and the seriousness of the offences.
• In Mr Cross’ favour, the Panel recognised that he admitted that his actions, and consequent convictions “could have brought the BACP as an organisation into disrepute and shed an unfavourable light on counsellors/ psychotherapists in general”, had expressed remorse and acknowledged the seriousness of his actions.
• The Panel concluded that the gravity of Mr Cross’ behaviour, the seriousness of the offences he has been convicted of and the sentence passed, were incongruent with that which is expected of a member of BACP. It was also satisfied that if all of the circumstances were made known to the public, Mr Cross’s actions would bring not only this Association, but also the reputations of counselling/ psychotherapy into disrepute and undermine the public’s confidence.
• Taking the above findings into consideration, the Panel decided that Mr Cross’ actions were sufficiently serious to warrant withdrawal of his membership of BACP.
Mr Cross did not appeal the decision and his membership was withdrawn.
Any future re-application for membership will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Articles of Association.
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