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Thursday, 12 August 2010

Sarah's Law - addressing concerns over Sex Offender Risk

 AUGUST 2010: DURING his first 12 months as a Member of the European Parliament, Nick Griffin has been contacted by a number of his constituents with regard to the potential risk to children from paedophiles who have moved into their area.

When dealing with these requests for assistance regarding a perceived sex offender risk, constituency office manager Tina Wingfield, follows the same protocol which includes signposting correspondents for further help if required.
"I write to the Public Protection Unit of the local Constabulary, raising the constituent's concern about the potential risk posed to local children and request that they look into the matter," she told the website.
"Often correspondents have already been in touch with the Police and are concerned that no action seems to have been taken. I do stress however, how important it is for a positive relationship with the local police force to be maintained, because it is only the police who have the power and authority to deal with this public risk.
"I direct them to the “Stop it Now” free-phone Helpline on 0808 1000 900, which offers confidential advice from experienced advisors about the possible steps you can take in respect of their concerns. The Helpline is available from 9.00am to 9.00pm Mondays to Thursdays and from 9.00am to 7.00pm Fridays."
Tina makes correspondents aware of the new disclosure scheme, arising from the successful “Sarah’s Law” campaign, and in areas with large Pakistani populations also draws attention to the British National Party's campaign to highlight the increase in sexual grooming carried out by Muslim gangs.
"The disclosure scheme - when it is rolled out to the North West - could help parents with such concerns. Unfortunately, at the moment, the North West is not yet covered, but Cheshire will be the first county in the region to introduce the scheme in October, with the rest of the North West invited to join by spring of next year," reports Tina.
More Information About the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme:
 The Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme lets parents ask the police if someone who has contact with their child is a sex offender. After a successful pilot in four areas, eight more areas are joining the scheme in August. Twelve more areas will join by the autumn.
The Disclosure Scheme is being extended after successful pilots in four police force areas. Under the scheme a parent, carer, guardian or another interested party can ask the police to check whether someone who has access to their children has a record of child sexual offences.
If they have convictions for sexual offences against children, and pose a risk of causing serious harm to the child or children, then this information may be disclosed.
How to ask for a check
The child sex offender disclosure scheme means anyone can ask for a police check on someone they are worried about. Simply call or visit your local police station for more information. To actually make an application, you will need to visit your local police station in person. At the police station, you will need to:
show some ID, for example your passport or driving licence
tell the police what your relationship to the child is
say why you want to have this particular person checked
Who the scheme is for
The scheme is for anyone who wants to find out if someone in contact with a child has a record of child sexual offences. You could be a family member, friend, neighbour or anyone that’s worried about the child.
Of course, if anyone is worried about the safety of a child then they can and should report that to the police right away. And if you think a child is in immediate danger, always call the police on 999.
Why this is needed
The majority of child sexual offenders are known to their victims. They are often a friend of the victim’s family, a friend of the victim, or a member of the victim’s family.
Results of the pilot scheme
The pilot scheme in the four areas saw:
a total of 585 enquiries and 315 applications, mainly from parents, carers and guardians
21 disclosures made about registered child sex offenders
11 general disclosures made, for example in cases relating to protection issues linked to violent offending
43 additional cases leading to a range of other child safeguarding actions such as referrals to children’s social care
Some of the cases seen in the pilot force areas involved concerns raised by neighbours or extended family members. Their actions led to children being protected from potential harm.
Areas currently covered by the scheme
The existing areas covered by the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme are Cambridgeshire, Cleveland, Hampshire and Warwickshire. Joining the scheme from August 2010 are:
North Yorkshire
Thames Valley
West Mercia
West Midlands
Twelve further areas will join the scheme by the autumn, and the rest of the country will be invited to join by spring 2011.
If you are concerned about the safety of your children, you can and should go to any police force at any time about your concerns. Every force already has a public protection team to deal with these issues.
read more at EU News at