The Article 12.6 Panel (the Panel), consisting of [ . . . ] convened to consider the incidents disclosed in the self-referral from BACP individual member, Joshua Darby.
1. Mr Darby first contacted BACP on 10 March Year 2 advising that he was being investigated by [ . . . ] Police for possession of indecent images. On 28 March Year 2 he confirmed that he had not been arrested but that he had ceased seeing clients while the investigation was ongoing. This was confirmed by his then employer in a letter dated 27 May Year 2.
2. The matter was put on hold while the police investigation was ongoing. On 7 December Year 2 the Member contacted BACP to advise that the investigation had now concluded and that he had been charged and convicted of voyeurism for which he had received a suspended sentence. He stated that he had been working with an experienced therapist to try to understand his actions and to make sure he would not repeat them.
3. The Member provided a copy of the Suspended Sentence Order, dated 2 December Year 2 [ . . . ]
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4. [ . . . ] He acknowledged that this was “illegal, voyeuristic and harmful…..”. The Member confirmed that he was now working with a chartered clinical psychologist to understand his actions and to make sure it didn’t happen again.
5. Mr Darby went on to provide details of his background and of his experiences that had led up to his arrest and conviction. He expressed his regret for his actions and confirmed that had now put himself into therapy to work through the reasons why he had acted as he had done. He explained the support system that he now had in place to avoid any repetition of his behaviour.
6. In a letter dated 31 May Year 3 Mr Darby sent in his submissions for the 12.6 hearing together with a reflexive report that he had been working on over the past 12 months and which had been shared with the police, courts, probation and other relevant statutory agencies. In summary he said:
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a) He hoped that he would be able to remain a member of BACP although he acknowledged that this may not be possible. He wished to remain a member of the organisation and was willing to undertake any further training, supervision, or evaluation that was necessary to do so and to enable him to continue to practise within the Association. He was also willing to accept any and all restrictions on his practice to demonstrate that he would continue to work in a safe and responsible way.
b) If he were removed from membership, however, he asked for information as to how he might be able to re-join in the future.
The nature of the information raises questions about the suitability of Mr Darby’s continuing membership of this Association and about the following in particular:
• It is alleged that, as a result of the offences for which Mr Darby had been convicted, he had brought, or may yet bring, not only this Association, but also the reputations of counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute.
• It is alleged that being convicted of such offences is incongruent with what 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.
The Panel considered all of the available information including:
i. the original information provided by the Member,
ii. the subsequent information from the Member confirming his arrest and conviction including the Suspended Sentence Order
iii. the Member’s initial response (undated) and his further response dated 31 May Year 3.
Having done so the Panel determined to implement Article 12.6 of the Articles of Association and to recommend that Mr Darby’s’ membership should be withdrawn subject to appeal.
In coming to its decision, the Panel noted that Mr Darby had been convicted in Year 2 of two offences involving sexually inappropriate behaviour. [ . . . ]
The Panel took into account Mr Darby’s detailed submissions that provided further information as to his personal background and experiences that had led up to the acts, which had resulted in the conviction. It noted that, although he had initially denied any wrongdoing, he has subsequently been open and frank in his admissions and in his expressions of remorse for his behaviour. He had also set out in some detail the steps he had taken, and was continuing to take, to address the issues which had led to his actions so as to avoid any repetition in the future. The Panel also took into account that Mr Darby had been a member of BACP for some time and there had been no complaints about his practice.
Nevertheless, the Panel considered that the nature and seriousness of the offences for which Mr Darby had been convicted were such that they would inevitably undermine the reputation of the professions of counselling and psychotherapy and of the Association if he were allowed to continue in membership. His actions had been incongruent with those expected of a member of the BACP and were a fundamental breach of the Values, Principles and Personal Moral Qualities as set out in the 2018 Ethical Framework.
The Panel reminded itself of its overarching requirement to protect clients, the public and to maintain confidence in the professions of counselling and psychotherapy and in BACP. In this case, the Panel considered that nature of Mr Darby’s actions, and his convictions, had the capacity to bring not only BACP, but also the reputations of the professions of counselling and psychotherapy into disrepute.
Accordingly, the Panel unanimously decided to implement Article 12.6 and withdraw Mr Darby’s’ membership, subject to appeal.
Mr Darby has 28 days from the date of notification of this report to make an appeal. In the absence of an appeal, notification will be given to Mr Darby by the Chair of the Association with regard to the withdrawal of membership.
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