More than 200 children have been protected from potential harm dur- ing the first year of the child sex offender disclosure scheme. Over the last 12 months the police have received over 1600 enquiries
and over 900 formal applications. At least 160 disclosures relating to child sex offences have been made, together with at least 58 made con- cerning other offences. The scheme, known as ‘Sarah’s Law’, was rolled out across all police
forces in England and Wales from 4 April 2011. It allows anyone to ask the police to check whether people who have contact with children pose a risk. If the individual has convictions for sexual offences against chil- dren or poses a risk of causing harm then the police can choose to dis- close this information to the parent, carer or guardian. Home secretary Theresa May said: ‘Thanks to Sarah’s Law, we know
that more than 200 children have been protected from potential harm over the last year. ‘We are doing everything we can to protect the public, and especially
children, from predatory sex offenders by tightening the law and closing loopholes. But families themselves have a vital role to play.
‘Sarah’s Law’ is huge success ‘It is important that parents, guardians and carers are aware of the dis-
closure scheme and their right to request information if they have concerns.’ Association of chief police officers’ lead on the management of sexual
offenders assistant chief constable Michelle Skeer said: ‘One of the strengths of the child sex offender disclosure scheme is
that it allows any individual with a concern for the welfare of any child to make an application to their local police force. This empowerment of parents, carers, guardians and the wider public to take steps to protect children from harm, has seen concerns being raised by close and extend- ed family members and neighbours. ‘Where it is deemed necessary to disclose information to safeguard a
child, this is done to the person who is best placed to care for the child. ‘The actions of these members of the public have undoubtedly led to
children being protected and helped to ensure greater public confidence in the police and other responsible authorities in the monitoring of sex offenders. ‘When information is disclosed there is an agreement reached with
the carer that this information must remain confidential to ensure the wider safety of the public. Anyone wishing to make an application should make contact with their local police force.’ Child protection campaigner Sara Payne said: ‘If just one child had been
kept safe as a result of Sarah’s Law then all the work to see it introduced would have been worth it. The fact that it is hundreds of children is wonderful and testament to the fact the scheme is needed. ‘Worried mums and dads must now be told if their child is in poten-
tial danger and it sends out a message to convicted sex offenders that they cannot hide their criminal history and put children at risk.’
I’M AT RISK
Every year more than 100,000 children run away from home or care.
Many of them are as young as eight years old.
Two thirds of cases are not reported.
Will you join our campaign to make runaways safe?
Text Safe to 80010 or visit our website
Help us build a safety net for children who run away from home
Charity registration No. 221124 | Photograph modelled for The Children’s Society | © Marcus Lyon Terms and conditions apply. See our website for details.
A better childhood. For every child.
M.A. WOMAN & CHILD ABUSE
Are you interested in developing your knowledge and understanding of violence against women and children?
The Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU) at London Metro - politan University run unique courses on theoretical, research, policy and practice approaches to woman and child abuse.
Master of Arts (M.A.) degree Postgraduate Diploma Postgraduate Certificates Short courses in Violence Against Women, Sexual Violence and Sexual Exploitation of Children
For more information contact Dr Maddy Coy, m.co
See websites: www.londonmet.ac.uk www.cwasu.org
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