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What is 'Sarah's Law'?

Do you worry about people lurking who could be a risk to your child, or other children?

We’ve all had that feeling, perhaps once or twice – we come across someone and something just feels ‘off’. It’s natural to have these instincts and as parents, we want our children to be as safe as possible.

If you have any reason to suspect an individual has any history of child sex offences, Sarah’s Law is a disclosure scheme that English and Welsh parents can now access.

It goes without saying that gossip and ‘Chinese whispers’ about someone in your community can be damaging and very unfair – unfortunately we live in a day and age where rumours can be spread far more widely due to social media, so of course it is vital that we consider where our sources of information are coming from. However, if you have serious concerns, Sarah’s law exists so that we can formally ask the police if an individual has a history of child sex offences.

Where did Sarah’s Law originate?

The murder of 8 year old Sarah Payne in 2000 brought about Sarah’s Law. Sarah was abducted and subjected to a horrific ordeal before losing her life at the hands of paedophile Roy Whiting, and through the steadfast campaigning by her parents, Michael and Sarah Payne, law enforcement was called upon to make information about known local sex offenders available to the public – much like Megan’s Law in the USA. Sarah’s Law was first piloted in 2008, and in 2010 it was rolled out across all areas of England and Wales.

How does Sarah’s Law work?

Sarah’s Law is a child sexual offender disclosure scheme across England and Wales which makes it possible for anyone to formally ask their local police force if an individual with access to a child (regardless of if they’re a parent or relative) has a record of committing child sex offences. On request, the police will then confidentially reveal the requested details to the person who is deemed most able to protect any child in contact with the individual if it is in the interest of the child to do this. Usually, the information required is given to parents, carers or guardians of any child in contact with a suspected individual.

Currently, there is no similar scheme in Northern Ireland, but in Scotland there is the ‘Keeping Children Safe’ scheme. You can read more about Sarah’s Law here.

We hope that this has been a useful read for our followers, and we also hope above and beyond all else that your children are happy, healthy and safe.

Love from Katie & Team BBY. Xx

(Image credit: Press Association)

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