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Sarah's Law (The Child Sex Offender
Disclosure Scheme)

The child sex offender disclosure scheme, sometimes called 'Sarah's Law', allows parents, carers or guardians to formally ask the police for information about a person who has contact with their child, or a child close to them, if they're concerned the person may pose a risk.

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The campaign for Sarah's Law was spearheaded by the News of the World newspaper, and began in July 2000 in response to Sarah Payne's murder. Her parents backed the campaign as they were sure that a child sex offender had been responsible for their daughter's death.


Sarah was just eight when she was abducted and murdered whilst visiting her grandparents on 1 July with her parents and siblings when she suddenly vanished. ... In December 2001, the man who murdered her, Roy Whiting, was sentenced to life imprisonment.

What is the scheme?

The Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme, or "Sarah's Law", allows parents to ask police if someone with access to their son or daughter has been convicted or suspected of child abuse.

Officers will look into the background of individuals and reveal details confidentially if they think it is in the child's interests.

Previously, a parent could alert police to concerns about someone, but there were no clear rules about whether or not they should be told anything if child protection officers discovered cause for concern.

Police can also warn parents if concerns are raised by grandparents or neighbours.

More information:

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