The force is pleased to announce that on 1st October 2010, it implemented the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme, more commonly referred to as 'Sarah's Law'. The scheme helps keep children safe by allowing those that care for them to find out if a person has a record for child sexual offences.
The majority of child sexual offenders are known to their victims. They are often a member of the family, a friend of the victim, or a friend of the victim's family, with only 20 per cent of offences carried out by strangers. The aim of this pilot is to keep children safer.
Lincolnshire already has in place, through its network of Risk Management Officers, a stringent framework within which Registered Sex Offenders are managed. This includes regular unannounced visits to their home addresses; checks on their compliance with the legal requirements to notify police of any change of address or foreign travel; monitoring compliance with any civil orders in place; and close working with colleagues from other agencies such as Children's Services and the Probation Service to ensure all relevant information is shared.
In June 2007, the then government published a review into the protection of children from sex offenders.
The following year, on 15 September, the government launched a scheme to fulfil action four of the review, which is to: 'Pilot a process where members of the public can register their child protection interest in a named individual. Where this individual has convictions for child sexual offences and is considered a risk, there is a presumption that this information will be disclosed to the relevant member of the public.'
The pilot ran in four sites, and allowed parents, carers and guardians to be able to formally ask the police to tell them if a person that has access to a child or children has a record for child sexual offences.
The applicant could be a family member, friend, neighbour or anyone that is worried about the safety of a child, but if a disclosure is to be made, it will only be to the person(s) best placed to protect the child.
It is important to note that the scheme gives people the right to ASK, not the automatic right to KNOW. For example, the scheme is not designed for general queries around whether there is a sex offender resident in a particular place, but it will apply if an individual has direct access to a child or children
Of course, if anyone is worried about the safety of a child and think the child might be in immediate danger, you should always call the police on 999.
Please take the time to read the documents on this section of our website. They set out the aims of the scheme; provide sound advice with regard to the safeguarding of children; and signpost other sources of support and information.
If you require further information, or wish to make an application under the scheme, please contact Lincolnshire Police on 0300 111 0300 and advise the call taker that you wish to make a Sarah's Law application.
Head of Public Protection