Threats to a child’s safety are more likely to originate from a family member or a friend of a family than a complete stranger. Around 75 per cent of child sex offenders are related to or known to their victim. The Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme has been developed to respond to this.
The scheme allows members of the public – parents, carers, guardians or interested third parties – to ask the police to tell them about a person’s record of child sex offences if they are concerned about that person’s access to a child.
The police already disclose information about registered sex offenders and violent offenders in a controlled way to a variety of people, including headteachers, leisure centre managers, employers, landlords and parents. The disclosure scheme is an additional tool that the police can use to keep children safe.
Since the scheme was launched by West Mercia Police in August 2010, the force has received hundreds of enquiries from the public, more than 100 of which were taken forward as formal applications and 16 disclosures were made (figures up to end of March 2012). Three further disclosures were made about other information relevant to safeguarding children.
For more information please visit the West Mercia Police website http://www.westmercia.police.uk/child-sex-offender-disclosure-scheme/