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Sarah's Law: Are Wiltshire children 'in contact' with sex offenders?

Sarah's Law: Are Wiltshire children 'in contact' with sex offenders?

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 11:34am 17th January 2020.

2 minute read

New figures show how many times parents asked police if someone with access to their child has committed sex crimes.

In 2018-19, there were 78 applications from Wiltshire parents for information.

On SEVEN occasions, the county's police had to tell families that their children could potentially be at risk.

There's been a 63% rise in applications since 2011-12, when there were 48 requests.

Child Sex Offences Online Abuse
Nationally, the number of applications for information has risen by 78% since 2011


The Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme allows anyone to ask whether a person has a criminal record relating to these kinds of offences.

It was introduced in 2011 and called Sarah's Law after 8 year old Sarah Payne, who was abducted and murdered.

Applications under Sarah's Law can be made by anyone, but the police will only inform those who are able to protect the child.

Teenager Child Sexual Exploitation
Only parents would be told if it's found a child could be at risk from a convicted sex offender


Child abuse prevention helpline Stop It Now! says the rising number of applications made through the scheme shows parents and carers are becoming more aware of it.

Donald Findlater, director of Stop It Now!, said it was 'reassuring' to see the figures growing:

"I think the rise is demonstrating a level of interest in safeguarding children and seeking information greater than we have had historically. I would like to see this trend continue because it is demonstrating awareness and vigilance.

"One in 10 children experience sexual abuse and one of the biggest problems is people are blind to the reality of it and think, 'it won't happen around here'.

"The fact that people are making the applications demonstrates to me that people are aware that the children they love and care about may be vulnerable to abuse."

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