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Is the sex offenders disclosure scheme a good idea?

06:24 UK time, Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Parents will be able to check if someone is a sex offender in a scheme due to be rolled out across England and Wales by March 2011, the Home Office says. Do you think the scheme will be useful?

A year-long pilot has already protected 60 children, ministers say. A similar scheme is to be launched in Scotland.

The take-up of the pilot was lower than expected, leading researchers who evaluated the programme to question whether it was worth it. The biggest category of applicants in the pilot areas was fathers concerned over the new boyfriends of ex-partners.

The scheme emerged after a long campaign by Sara Payne, whose daughter Sarah was killed by a convicted paedophile who had been released from prison.

Are you a parent? Is this the solution to keep children safe from sex offenders? Would this scheme make you feel safer about who comes into contact with your children? Would this scheme have helped you in the past? What other safeguards should be in place to protect children from sex offenders?


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  • Comment number 1.

    Since sadly most abuse is caused by close family member, this concentration on "stranger" attack is just another distraction from what is by far the bigger problem.
    What is worrying is Britain is tracking over 90% of its sex offenders while America (a pioneer of this law) has a very low percentage as this law has caused the sex offenders to "go off the radar".

  • Comment number 2.

    Yes (no excuse for the moderators to reject this).
    Funny how this scheme is being 'proposed' just before an election ( by March 2011 - plenty of time to find a reason not to do it) .

  • Comment number 3.

    No, on so many levels that even in the expanded space available on HYS I still will run out of room!

    First, if someone is still a danger to children what are they doing out of gaol or a secure treatment centre?

    Second, while convictions are a matter of public record, it is unacceptable to reveal someone else's without their consent - heck, as a teacher I am (rightly) subject to enhanced disclosure checks of my criminal record, yet each time an employer wishes to make such a check they are required to ask my permission!

    Finally, although disclosures are made 'in confidence' and those enquiring are requested to keep quiet about what they are told... it only takes a word out of turn and vigilantism will result.

  • Comment number 4.

    No, it's a terrible idea. I don't care what a person's offence is, there is no place in a civilised society for mob justice or lynch mobs. Anybody else remember that paediatrician whose house got mobbed by a group of people too stupid to know the difference between a child doctor and a child molester?

    Plus, all this will do is cause registered sex offenders to go on the run instead of registering with their local police. Let's be clear: There are NO possitive results of this idea. Not one.

  • Comment number 5.

    "About time all the sex offenders names and photo should be given to all parents in they area, and schools or if this is not allowed at the nearest police station. Why should all the perverts have all the human rights and be allowed to re offend? The Family members excuse is just hogwash!!! All Children in the U.K. need this law But it wont stop the sex offenders, they will just go abroad,

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    Of course it's a good idea!
    I would be highly suspicious of anyone who thought that the Sex Offenders Disclosure Scheme was not good, because that person would be prioritising the welfare of paedophiles before the safety of children.

  • Comment number 8.

    Why is there a sex offenders' register? Presumably because these people are still a danger to the public in some way. So if they're still a danger to the public, why aren't they in prison?

    There should be no need for a sex offenders' register.

    People should be kept in prison until two conditions are satisfied:

    1. They have paid their 'punishment dues' to society.
    2. They are no longer a danger to society.

    Only when both conditions are satisfied should they be released, whereupon they should be allowed to make a fresh start unhindered.

    The very fact that we have a sex offenders' register indicates that we're knowingly releasing dangerous people back into society and that's wrong.

  • Comment number 9.

    Im glad there is now a list but if this list is complete why is it not being available untill 1011 and why is it only for parents in certain situations why is it not for ALL parents of children ?

  • Comment number 10.

    Yes, on two conditions.

    First, only convictions are revealed; not acquittals or suspicions. No conviction - no information.

    Second, the subject is told that the question has been asked before it is answered so that he has a chance to say “this enquirer is not what she says she is, she is a journalist” or “she is a rival for promotion at work” or "she is just a nosy parker" – all possible – or of course so that he can say to her “if that is how much you trust me, our relationship is at an end”.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    its very shameful,coming from an Asian culture it was astonishing for me to know that you cant kiss or cuddle a child
    you can do the same with animal babies but not humans
    and this clearly means we are less human in certain aspect
    and this is not an ordinary aspect of life
    and its one of the signs of decline of a society
    UK is largely very good but in family structure they need to learn from Asian countries
    and this is good scheme to save children.

  • Comment number 13.

    "The biggest category of applicants in the pilot areas was fathers concerned over the new boyfriends of ex-partners."

    "Concerned" - Yeah, right! So there you have it. Jealous men wanting excuses to break up their ex's new relationships.

  • Comment number 14.

    What concerns me is how easy it is to get put onto the sex offenders register and I believe that onus must be put on those who are being offended against.

    A couple of years ago a local 18 year old youth went to a party where he mingled with the other members. He struck up a conversation with a girl and eventually one thing led to another and a bit of slap and tickle pursued.

    A couple of days later the youth was arrested, the girl was 14 and it came to light through TEXT boasting.

    The lad got 18 months and life on the sex offenders register.

    We to went to a party of friends and we got talking to her daughter aged 18 and her friend and we had quite a chatty conversation. The daughters’ friend was 13 and went everywhere with the daughter, pubs, clubs parties etc. None of us could guess her age and she was certainly jail bait for unsuspecting young men doing what is natural.

    The onus should be on this girl to ensure she discloses her age and attempts to extricate herself from such situations but it isn’t it is the responsibility of the old lad!

    As for true sex offenders then maybe castration physical or medical would be more cost effective.

  • Comment number 15.

    This is ridiculous. Do you think that anyone on here has realised that these people have already done their time and just because they were a sex offender it doesn't mean that they are going to molest small children? Why don't we just make one big long list of everyone who has ever committed a crime?

  • Comment number 16.

    Like most initiatives it looks good on paper as an initial idea. I wonder if it might slowly but surely transform people into the chap from the old Twilight Zone episode, "Four o'clock". Unless of course, this is already in progress.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    In answer to No2, this scheme has been running in 4 areas as a trial, the trial is now completed and has been successful therefore the scheme is being run out. No timing issue intended.

    In answer to No8, if a sex offender promises to be a good person on release from prison, we are supposed to believe them are we. Unless you intend to keep all law breakers in prison for life (meaning their whole life), then measures have to be taken to ensure public safety upon their release.

  • Comment number 19.

    Good idea - now let's extend it to car thieves, violent muggers who pick on old people, drug dealers and other menaces to our lawful existence.

  • Comment number 20.

    Nice in theory but a terrible idea in practice, that is likely to cause people who are no ongoing threat to be persecuted and those who may be to go underground in fear of persecution, thus being lost to the sight of the police and more likely to associate with other paedophiles.

  • Comment number 21.

    It is interesting, though not surprising, that the largest source of enquiry under the pilot scheme is fathers seeking information about their ex-partner's new man-friend.
    As well as being motivated by concern for one's children, this may also suggest more than a hint of vindictiveness and jealousy.
    No crime causes stronger public anger than paedophilia, and rightly so, but this law must not become a charter for personal revenge.

  • Comment number 22.

    No this is not a good idea. Why protect the anonymity of some but not others? It will mean the usual uneducated sub-class rent-a-mob will start patrolling neighbourhoods looking for sex offenders, usually with the intention of giving them a beating for their own twisted pleasure - NOT because of the offenders original crime!

  • Comment number 23.

    No. NO. NO. NO. NO. Imagine one wrong word from anybody about a convicted sex offender in an area to another person. Then imagine the hate that would be directed at this PERSON by an entire community. Don't think this wouldn't be the case. History tells us it has happened and WILL happen again. Imagine the possibility of someone lying to obtain this information. Again, this WILL happen. Most sex offenders want nothing more than to eek out a life after being convicted and 'debts paid to society'. Think about this: How would you feel if an entire community wrongly suspected you of a sexual offence (be it peadophile or rape), and turned against you. This may not be by 'stringing you up' but may just be insults, the odd missile thrown at you or your house or maybe even an arsen attack or vandalism. Then re-consider the application of this access to information!

  • Comment number 24.

    The best test of this 'Sarahs Law' is would it have prevented her death. Since the answer is almost certainly NO, I suggest the Law is pointless. We are told that the provision of information was used mostly by partners to vet their rivals. Is that a correct useage? The claim is that 60 children were 'protected', but there is as normal with such claims no proof. Because of the wide range of people on the register the resultant information is of poor quality. The idea was to allow parents to find out if a person is of danger to their children, but what use is information that includes a young man who had underage sex with his regular girlfriend, now his wife?

    In a time of restricted finance is this expensive scheme the best use of the time and money involved?

  • Comment number 25.

    Well whether it will work effectively or not who knows, perhaps only time will tell.
    My view has always been, if an individual, be they Male, Female, Adult or Child is considered to be a serious danger to society then steps must be taken to prevent those individuals from being allowed to live among the rest of society.
    The biggest problem we have concerning preventative measures is that for those registered offenders, they are only but a small percentage of the real number of offenders in this category.
    One council indicated from their own statistics that 1 in 6 young females have been or will be abused, in the majority of cases by family members or close friends, I think we have a long way to go to safe guard Children.

  • Comment number 26.

    This is simply a public relations stunt and of little or no practical value.
    1) It assumes there is no rehabilitation of offenders - if there isn't why are they free.
    2) The fact the list exists and can be released to the public means that these offenders can NEVER be truely rehabilitated
    3) It assumes that parents, family and people who haven't been caught in the past are 'safe' when these are actually the majority.
    4) It relies of the ex-offenders following the rules and keeping the police informed of where they are. These people are the ones who are unlikely to re-offend and it is the ones who don't keep the police informed that are more likely to re-offend.
    5) If it is of any use, why limit it to sex offenders - don't murderers, thieves, even speeding and drunk drivers, especially those who kill or injure people, all pose a threat to children and society in general? Shouldn't we be trying to keep those people away from children also?
    6) Question - if you tell your ex-partner their new partner is a sex offender would they believe you? Or if your ex-partner knowingly takes up with an ex-sex offender what can you do?
    7) If you find out the person next door is a registered sex offender what can you do - you should not tell anyone but how do you explain why you are antagonistic towards them without releasing that information. What happens to you if you release that information and that person is subjected to an attack? What do you do if your neighbours children are friendly in publis with the neighbour?
    This is a can of worms and can only result in more and bigger problems than it is ever likely to address let alone solve.

  • Comment number 27.

    So how many more pediatricians will get betten up like the one in Portsmouth becase the mob dont kown the differance?

  • Comment number 28.

    Absolutely not. There are enough laws in place to protect children, the problem is unqualified, overworked or just incompetent people trying to enforce the laws. There will always be paedophiles about, always has been and always will be - unfortunately.
    Naming convicted paedophiles, who have served their sentence, will invariably start witchhunts by the morons who decide to become vigilantes and, as has happened before, pick on an innocent person, who happens to have the same name as a "named paedophile" and subject them to serious assault.

  • Comment number 29.

    No, the only people who should know are the police, telling the general public will lead to lynch mobs you only have to remember a few years ago when some morons attacked a paediatrician because they thought a paediatrician and a paedophille were the same, while we have people this stupid in this counrty you can't give this type of information out.

  • Comment number 30.

    I'm a little confused. We have one example given where one ex-offender offered sweets to children in the area. But how can we say that 60 children have been protected? Does this assume that the offenders who went to live in those areas would definitely have re-offended in all cases?

    Is this statistic not therefore a little misleading with regard to the value of the scheme?

    I'm a parent and I believe I should have the right to know if my child is in danger but to assume that every offender still poses a threat suggests that other agencies are not doing their jobs right. It also smacks of sensationalist and lazy journalism.

    And if I wanted that, I'd read the tabloids.

  • Comment number 31.

    Sexual deviants should not be released into society unless they are cured of being a danger to anyone including children. If parents can access sex offence details, they will persecute the paedophiles and drive them into hiding where they will prey on the innocent again. Just keep the deviants in jail if they can't be cured.

  • Comment number 32.

    I have no problems with people checking my background but I will want to know who is checking me out and why. I have no interest in associating with people who think the worst of others. And I'd want to stay away from those gossiping people to protect my own reputation.

    I shall wait for the full details of this proposal to be made known and if it does not include letting people know they are being checked out and by who then I will happily test this in court against the Human Rights Act.

    Even though Labour do not beieleve in the principle of innocent until proven guilty I am sure the European Courts still adhere to this vital principle.

  • Comment number 33.

    The proof is in the the pudding one might say!
    Look at America and there laws allowing anyone in fact to find out about everything they wish to about each other.
    Is this the path we want to go down?
    I am all in favour of protecting children from those who wish them harm and controls put in place to achieve safety for children should be always considered.
    Perhaps the ultimate way in prevention would be for government bodies to be able to check on all families and their children whether there are any suspicions or not!

  • Comment number 34.

    I think that this scheme is a fantastic idea that serves to protect the most vulnerable in society and those with no legally recognised voice as parents act in their childrens behalf.

    I'm staggered that the home office say the take up has been slow, I live in the Southampton area and despite reading local / national press have heard nothing about access to the service.

  • Comment number 35.

    There is a need for a sex offenders register as after all its the children we need to protect. I agree with the comment that not all offenders are strangers and this is the very grey area. My feelings on the matter are that if someone commits a crime and they are to be released early an tracking implant could be part of agreed conditions. If they are cured they will have no worries and those that object obviously have. Its such a sad world now when as a parent grandparent, other relatives and friends are not allowed to show affection without fear that you may be doing something wrong.

  • Comment number 36.

    If a person asks for information on someone under this scheme do they have to sign a confidentiality agreement. Otherwise what is there to stop someone from 'spilling the beans' so to speak. How much detail is given?
    Or is it just confirmed that the person in question is on the register.

  • Comment number 37.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 38.

    #1 Has it spot on.

    We are hopelessly out of touch with reality if we do not understand the relationship between abuse and opportunity. We are also exceedingly naive if we think that "stranger" abuse is more likely than "familiarity" abuse.

    Paedophiles have existed since the first breaths of life in one form or another and these "devices" do little or nothing to protect children. They satisfy a "whim" in some parents' minds, a whim that eases their "guilt", their "fear", their "anger" and, in so doing, makes "familiarity" child abuse much more likely.

  • Comment number 39.

    7. At 07:58am on 03 Mar 2010, Lloyd Belle wrote:
    Of course it's a good idea!
    I would be highly suspicious of anyone who thought that the Sex Offenders Disclosure Scheme was not good, because that person would be prioritising the welfare of paedophiles before the safety of children.

    Or they could be worried that innocent people will fall victim to mob mentality and lynchings.

    The Police are the ones that need to know where sex offenders are - no one else does. And as has been pointed out many times, most offenders are close family members to the victim.

  • Comment number 40.

    Very undecided as I am not sure how far this will stretch. Great idea for a new partner who may have a suspicious back ground but not everyone in the neighbourhood.

    They call it "Sarah's Law", but I am not sure how it could have prevented that awful crime as I believe he wasnt from that area.

  • Comment number 41.

    Well its not a bad idea but you'd be daft to think that people wont cause problems for the offenders, not only that the checks mean nothing if they have never been caught so it doesn't really make much of a differences my only concern is what are this people doing outside of jail if they are still deemed a danger to children or people in the first place. It tells me that police and the judge are still not doing there jobs properly

  • Comment number 42.

    I think the resources could be better spent in already existing methods such as social services, mental heath foundations, our prison system and the checks that are already in place to protect our children from sex offenders.

    In some cases I agree with the law and I definitely sympathize with the victims in all this being the children and their families but if this scheme is put in place I would be worried other schemes that conflict with human rights would start to crop up.

    Clean up the media and social attitudes towards sex.

  • Comment number 43.

    Whether or not this is a good idea can we please STOP this relentless maniacal zeal to "protect our children". From what? They are no more in danger than 1, 5, or 25 years ago and yet we are all getting neurotic, fed for a reason I can't fathom (unless another example of state interventionism) by government propaganda. The 10 million volunteers and parents who now need to be CRB checked to take kids to a school football match are fundamentally NOT a danger to children, when compared with relatives of children (Baby P, Khyra, Victoria Climbie)who would escape these measures anyway. The Soham murders were tragic but the effect of the resulting enquiry on the Nation is totally disproportionate.

  • Comment number 44.

    its just another way for the communities to do the police jobs for them. They can't keep tabs on the sex offenders so how do we save money and effort so lets use paranoid people to do it for us and set up a website with peoples information on it and hope no vigilantism will come of it (you'd be daft to think it wont). I don't think it's a bad idea but I see it has potential ways of ruining life's although I have no sympathy for sex offenders but if they haven't commit an offense in years of being on the register does that mean they are still a risk?

  • Comment number 45.

    Parents must be able to know if there is a paedophile lurking in the vicinity of their children but the information should be filtered via the local Police who must warn schools and parents accordingly.

  • Comment number 46.

    People have the right to know if there is a sex offender in their area, but I do worry that it will lead to vigilantism and innocent people will be branded paedophiles, while real paedophiles will be driven underground.

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    "The biggest category of applicants in the pilot areas was fathers concerned over the new boyfriends of ex-partners."

    "Concerned" - Yeah, right! So there you have it. Jealous men wanting excuses to break up their ex's new relationships.
    ---------------------------------------------------------- [snip]

    Maybe not jealousy. How about if your ex-partner had taken YOUR children with her? Concerned? I know I would be!

  • Comment number 49.

    Yes it`s a good idea as the threat of the lynch mob is the ultimate deterence for these vile people, and would that happen? I`ve no doubt it would. Forget about the "the radar stuff", there would be no hiding place for these animals.

  • Comment number 50.

    Sex offenders by their very nature are at an increased risk of perpetrating another sex crime even after they have paid their dues. Ultimately if only ONE child (or person) is molested by these individuals after being let out of prison then the state will have failed them and their families. Law abiding citizens need the right to know what predators are in their immediate area. If sex offenders are socially isolated from the rest of society so be it. Sex crimes are especially heinous.

  • Comment number 51.

    What we used to do with people like the sex offenders was to ship them off to another country a long way away. Then, when we wanted to help their ailing population there, we sent a load of children from here to keep them company. Not a good idea, in hindsight.
    Having a sex offenders' register, open to all requests, will not stop sexual abuse from taking place. What it will do is to castigate those who committed a previous offence, regardless of whether they are ever likely to do so again. We may as well tattoo "PAED" on their forehead. Or perhaps eletronic tagging of some sort would be better. In fact, why not go the whole hog and insert a tagging chip in all newborns so they can be tracked throughout their life. It'd help catch potential criminals and would protect vulnerable children. If Granda gets too close the police can take him away and lock him up as the pervert he so obviously is. Yes, the more I think about the more I'm convinced that we should all give up those freedoms we have left to make this a safer and more just society.

  • Comment number 52.

    I suppose its the a step in the right direction. I personally think child abusers should be castrated.

  • Comment number 53.

    About ten years ago, at a previous address, I was taken aside by neighbours one afternoon and it was obvious they were struggling with something. It turned out they wanted to tell me that a man who had moved into a caravan nearby, had recently been released from prison after serving a term for a very serious sex offence with a young child. They knew this because when he had committed his original offence, the police had questioned them and their two children (young at the time) to see whether he'd tried to interfere with them as well. As he had now been released back into the community, and as my two children were the only youngsters in the street, they'd felt that they needed to warn me to keep my children away from him. This was a very rural community and the kids played outside all the time. I appreciated their warning and was able to tell my children the 'bones' of the offence (enough to make them wary of him, but not enough to send them screaming into the nearest house if they ever saw him) so that they knew, under no circumstances at all, to go to the caravan with him or go anywhere with him. We didn't run him out of the place. He had 'found religion' while inside and other neighbours were trying to help him, so we contented ourselves with keeping an eye and being forewarned. We need to keep a sense of perspective on offences of this nature. Maybe we were just lucky. But I really do think that most people would react in the same way that we did. Interestingly enough, the police never told us about him. Thank you to our neighbours who took a risk and were able to see that not everyone is a hysteric.

  • Comment number 54.

    This type of subject brings out the worst in some people. From pre-nuptiual marriage contracts, setting up 'honey-traps' where women hire young girls to temp their future partners to women with young children checking with the police if something is 'known' about a new partner, all betray the trust that is required for any relationship to last.

    What is to stop a nosy neighbour, parent, (or even ex-in law) from asking about someone they have had a disagreement with. Its common practice in US divorces where the husband/father is likely to get custody of their children and set up home with a new partner for the ex-wife to make a claim out of spite.

    I would remind everyone that the laws against homosexuality, rightly repealed in the 1960's where called a blackmailers charter.

    There are so many issues relating to this topic, its difficult to know where to begin:

    1 This is Daily Mail/Sun vigilantism in action. Newspapers that will post any amount of photographs of scantily clad young girls over the latest celeb story are outraged when young innocents are harmed. The hypocrisy is overwhelming.

    2 The questions most people ask is a) if these people are a danger to the public why are they released? b) If a person comits a crime that is so serious that they require monitoring for the rest of their lives then why arn't the sentences longer? c) If a person is a repeat offender why are they not locked up permanently? The answer to these is the law is run for the benefit of judges, QC's / Barristers, politicians in that order. Judges want the power and control to determine a convicted person's sentence. QCs & barristers will argue in someones defence that they cannot be subject to a maximum sentence because someone could commit a worse crime and what would they get? Politicians do not want people in jail as it costs a lot of money and jailing people gets them criticism from 'do-gooder' organisations.

    3 The media love victims, the endless television news items with tearful parents asking why their children were not protected by 'them'and the 'they knew all about this person' etc. Most crimes are commited by members of their own family. With those that are not no one asks the question 'how do we identify a first offender?' To answer this means we should check everyone, every man (& woman) everywhere this of course is not possible, most people would refuse to take part voluntarily.

    4 The most important point is will it work? The answer if you look at the USA is no it will not. Peodophiles are often very intelligent people and know how to bury an identity. We have 90% of registered offenders known, just watch this fall to 50-60% as has happened in the US

  • Comment number 55.

    To post number 23 the odd vandal attack...missle arson attack, is`nt that happening anyway. Witness recently the lovely old couple burnt alive by nutters high on substances and all because the couple wanted a yob and drugs free home and community.

  • Comment number 56.

    As I understand it, an individual can be on that register for just having had sex with a fifteen year old when he or she was sixteen, even if he or she merely received a caution. I strongly suspect that the register does not disclose this level of detail to those who access it. It is only human to assume the worst. It is equally human to then give a knee-jerk reaction and begin to spread wildly inaccurate information to your friends and neighbours.

    And even if you find that there is a sex-offender in your area by using the register, then what? Are you going to restrict the freedom of your child even more?

    I'm sure when this was conceived it was done so with the best intentions, but really, it's just pandering to the already overly paranoid parents.

  • Comment number 57.

    Its a start.

    But we should be able to check the criminal history of anyone. We should be able to walk into a police station, pay a fee and ask to see a summary of someone we can positively identify.

    What is the point of society punishing people if the rest of society have no visibility of that? What better punishment that knowing that the rest of the country know what you are and you can no longer hide from that?

  • Comment number 58.

    I suppose it was inevitable in todays media driven society of hysteria and fear. All it will do though is give some parents a false sense of security when they get the all clear while giving every child the impression that every adult is a potential molester.

  • Comment number 59.

    The interesting thing about this system is the way it is controlled.

    In the US anyone can find out about local sex offenders and it has lead to problems. Our version of the system means you have to have a good reason to ask, and then you cannot make that information public. This makes for a far more considered and less potentially hysterical system.

    I think that concerns about low take-up are misplaced.

    Since it was local trials, many people may not have been aware of it in their area compared with if it had been a nationally publicised system, and also, you want the enquiries to be quality enquiries and not just have everyone asking about everyone else.

    I am very glad that the News of the World did not get their way and put up pictures of every one who just might be bad on every street corner. That already lead to one person having their house vandalised because they were a paediatrician! This system is much less sensational, and that is a good thing.

  • Comment number 60.

    Why are some parents paranoid about every person around them being a paedophile and why does that give them the right to check it with the Police? Also, we now know that its often women that abuse children and not just men!
    MOST child abuse happens within the family and not the mythical dirty old man on the street corner with his dirty raincoat offering sweets to little children.
    Myself, I am more worried abou who the local thieves and burlars are, or those who have committed GBH against another person.
    When will the law allow me to ask who the low life are, around me?
    By allowing information of those who may be a danger to children, but not other crimes is not right.
    In any case, the register does not include those who abuse children, but have not been caught or reported to the Police.

  • Comment number 61.

    "People have the right to know if there is a sex offender in their area, but I do worry that it will lead to vigilantism and innocent people will be branded paedophiles"

    Exactly the problem. As a man living alone, I can see where this is going. The authorities won't identify an individual but lets say someone does a check and gets a positive in the area. Who is suspect? Oh yes, the guy living alone - it must be him...lets go burn his house down.

    Can't happen? Remember that paediatrician who had a baying mob outside her house calling for her head because they didn't know what the word meant? With the intelligence of some people in the UK being at caveman level, this is a stupidly dangerous piece of legislation.

  • Comment number 62.

    Yes the scheme will be useful even if the results will be limited. The problem with today's world-wide situation is that few rogues can turn the lives of all into suspicion and monitoring. All become guilty until they prove innocent.
    Take the example of air travel, all passengers are checked like criminals to prevent a vicious from hurting the others. Recently, the so-called Israel designed a hideous assasination plot in Dubai where all people from the world can enjoy entering the country so easily, the result came over millions of visitors who will face multiple checks to keep the country clean of such criminal activities. All will suffer in a way or another. But yes, all measures are justified to protect the innocents and lock-in the thugs.

  • Comment number 63.

    Who has a right to what and what is one supposed to do with the information that they have gleaned? Can I check out everyone I know that might come into contact with my sons? Will it be free, or will a fee be charged? How would it have protected Sarah Payne - who was snatched from the roadside by an opportunist attacker? How will this in any way aid the rehabilitation of ex-offenders? Unless we are prepared to jail them indefinitely, at vast cost, we have to accept that they will be released at some point, and that they will have to interact with society (and children) in an acceptable way. This will be impossible if everyone around them knows what they did.

    Sorry, but it seems like a typical rubbish, knee-jerk idea, thought up by a downmarket newspaper to cynically exploit the genuine sorrow felt by victims of abuse and paedophilia. It is a shame that Ms. Payne has allowed herself to be misled and manipulated by profit-hungry hacks with no morals, whose newspaper will doubtless trumpet their 'victory' on one page, and stick a topless photo of 'Abbey, 19, from London' and a salacious story about sex-mad footballers on the very next page! We could all take a massive step towards helping our children by refusing to buy into the seedy, over-sexualised rubbish that I'm sure is read by many people who actually commit the offences!

  • Comment number 64.

    the only punishment for any sex offender is execution

  • Comment number 65.

    This scheme is a waste of time. The idea came from the US, a country notorious for it's sometime's vigilante approach to Justice.
    I've always believed we were above that kind of approach in this country, to my mind the only real solution is that if you hurt a child, you go to prison, for ever!
    When we let these offenders out, too many of them offend again.

  • Comment number 66.

    Given the horrendous rate of reoffending for all prisoners after release, it is frankly terrifying that paedophiles are being released at all. Does anyone really believe people who can abuse children are ever really cured?

    And what are parents supposed to do with the information anyway? Move house? Never let their children leave the house?

    Spineless policies from a spineless government more concerned with paedophiles human rights than a childs.

  • Comment number 67.

    I don't believe this is a good idea, far better to spend the money ensuring that those who are known are monitored closely and that we find those that are not monitored.

    Whilst I am a parent and it is a concern I think the prospect of vigilante actions are far too high and a large portion of our population is quite frankly not intelligent enough to be entrusted with this kind of information.

    Detect them, monitor them, keep them away from our kids thats all we ask.

  • Comment number 68.

    This is no solution at all. Nearly all child sexual offenses are within the family. The public image of the paedophile is completely wrong and the problem is that the cases of children being abused withing the family are very rarely, if ever, reported in the press.

    In addition to this, the subject itself is never black and white. An 18 year old man who has sex with a 15 year old girl is not the same as a father abusing his younger child.

    If someone has urges to have sex with children then they need help. The subject is so taboo that potential offenders would never dream of telling someone about their urges, and so one offense could mean a whole lifetime of struggling to control them. There needs to be a genuine confidential service for those people to help them overcome their demons or deal with them the best they can.

  • Comment number 69.

    In theory (as in most things) this is of course a good idea. however like most laws it can be exploited for personal gain. Imagine two people going for a promotion and the other "enquires" if they are a risk. this will go on their record causing them to gain an advantage in the race for the promotion at the expense of the other's good nature and life.

    The problem is that this will cause a rise in vigilantilism and mistaken identity. I think someone has already brought to attention the case where a mob of families attacked the house of a Paedatrician. The man saved Children's lives daily and gets attacked because they were stupid enough to mistake the title of Paedatrician with Paedophile. People cannot be trusted with such information. If the person is a risk to children then they should be in a secure location where they can be monitored closely.

  • Comment number 70.

    At 08:20am on 03 Mar 2010, Custador wrote:
    "The biggest category of applicants in the pilot areas was fathers concerned over the new boyfriends of ex-partners."

    "Concerned" - Yeah, right! So there you have it. Jealous men wanting excuses to break up their ex's new relationships.

    You've obviously had issues with an ex-partner, however most fathers are responsible and are just as entitled to know the background of anyone who is allowed contact with their children.

  • Comment number 71.

    Why are paedophiles put on registers? Why are they not in jail for the rest of their lives? Why do this government fail to actually punish crime?

  • Comment number 72.

    sarah Payne was 'snatched' because she left her siblings. All the children had been left by their parents to play, (trespass) on farmland.

  • Comment number 73.

    "Yes it`s a good idea as the threat of the lynch mob is the ultimate deterence for these vile people, and would that happen? I`ve no doubt it would. Forget about the "the radar stuff", there would be no hiding place for these animals."

    This comment is the reason this information should never be given to general public.

  • Comment number 74.

    Lloyd Belle wrote:
    Of course it's a good idea!
    I would be highly suspicious of anyone who thought that the Sex Offenders Disclosure Scheme was not good, because that person would be prioritising the welfare of paedophiles before the safety of children.

    Look like I will be one of the people you find "suspect" because I oppose the scheme.
    Example 6 year old boy cautioned for inappropriate sexual behaviour (he kissed a female class mate)he is now a registered sex offender

    Example 16 year old boy had sex with an 14 year old girl (happened in USA), she openly and freely stated that she initiated the sexual contact. The boy got 10 years and is now a registered sex offender.

    There are many more examples of "sex offenders" who will be hurt and penalised through no fault of their own when this proposal comes to pass. Also a large number of registered sex offenders are not a danger to children but children are often in danger from family members who do not appear on the register.

  • Comment number 75.

    I agree that the safety of children should be our first priority, but this proposal is wrong because it is a just spin from the government due to the forthcoming election. I am all for disclosure of all criminal's convictions into the public domain Paedophiles, burglars, murderers, violent offenders, Etc Etc. All criminal records should be available for public scrutiny. We either need full access to criminals records OR none at all. This electioneering announcement is too restrictive and will not work so best forget it.

  • Comment number 76.

    No because something like this will happen
    Scheme is rolled out

    innocent person gets killed by lynch mob because they got the address wrong

    scheme is cancelled.

  • Comment number 77.

    What I would like to know is why these sex offenders are released from custody in the first place. If these people are a threat to children then they should be detained indefinitely. Surely the rights of children to be safe comes before the rights of paedophiles. There is, in my opinion, a serious problem with human rights legislation in the UK.

  • Comment number 78.

    A highly emotive issue, and as a parent intuitively anything which offers more tools in 'protecting my child' from predators seems good. But I have an issue - know paedophiles should not be free - they should be in 'secure' institutions receiving the necessary treatment to cure their disease. And those not know to be paedophile will not be on any register anyway - so its a bit of a odd way to proceed!

    Lets keep the paedophiles away from our communities and our children by not releasing them in the first place! And in relation to the 'unknown' sexual perverts - I think it my responsibility to ensure any adult allowed any contact with my child has a solid moral character! If I am not sure of an individuals character they do not go anywhere near my child! Simple

  • Comment number 79.

    This is absolutely sordid. Responsible parents do not have problems with their children being victims of abuse! Charity begins at home.

  • Comment number 80.

    I believe that the best way of protecting my 13-year-old daughter is to teach her what is and is not acceptable behaviour towards her by others, and what to do if anything she finds unacceptable occurs.

    Which has led her to call the police on her mobile phone when she was uncomfortable about the behaviour of some fellow bus passengers towards her - good on her and she's not been pestered again!

  • Comment number 81.

    "Do you think the scheme will be useful?": 'Useful' is hardly the word - it is essential. Every parent has the right to know if there are sex-offenders living nearby - of either sex.
    'What other safeguards should be in place?' First of all sentences should be almost on a par with murder - with no 'early release. All these offenders should be 'tagged'. They should live as far away from the general population as possible and they should report for treatment regularly.
    Many fathers are extremely concerned over the new boyfriends of ex-partners - and so should there ex-partner be. Personally, I think they should be held just as responsible as the sex-offender if the child of a broken partnership is attacked by her new partner. I await expectantly, bleatings from the PC/HR brigade...

  • Comment number 82.

    To Stokeybloke, number 67, who wrote:

    "...a large portion of our population is quite frankly not intelligent enough to be entrusted with this kind of information."

    These would be the same people who are nevertheless well educated in the school of 'What my old dad always said', followed by the University of 'What some bloke told me in the pub.' As for the risk of vigilante groups, anyone remember the time when homosexuals were sought out and beaten up for Saturday night entertainment? Thanks Stoneybroke, for a sensible comment.

  • Comment number 83.

    The protection of innocent children comes before the "human rights" of a sex offender.
    Sadly in 13 years of rule,NuLabour has made the accused the victim.

  • Comment number 84.

    I agree with a comment made by post '26'.

    What if you found out your neighbour is on the register? Would you move? What would happen to the value of your house? Could you even sell it? If you could would you knowingly sell it to another young family? Or even a couple wanting to start a family? How guilty would you feel? Would you even buy a house from a sex offender?

  • Comment number 85.

    Whilst there is nothing wrong with the principle of a sex offenders register, evidence would suggest that they are largely ineffective as a means of public protection. One of the reasons for this is that an offender has to start somewhere, and in that sense, a register and any scheme based on disclosing 'previous known convictions' does little in practical reality to protect the wider public, as uncomfortable as that may be. All it does is provide the illusion of a process to protect people, so ticks politicians box's for easy quick win solutions rather than grappling intellectually with complex solutions for challenging problems.

  • Comment number 86.

    I disagree with this law.

    Even if the government's records were accurate (and I have no reason to believe that they are), then it would still result in "mob justice" being carried out.

    The very fact that the government claim this law is needed is irrefutable proof that the current "justice" system is not working.

    Anyone who commits a sexual offence against a child should be locked away for life, or given the death sentence.

  • Comment number 87.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 88.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 89.

    It's a phenomenally stupid idea. It's basically an admittance that Labour has completely and utterly failed to run a working criminal justice system.

    If someone is on the list, and are not trustworthy around children, then they are obviously not fit to be out of prison yet. If however they have done their time, and are deemed trustworthy enough to release safely into society, then there is no reason to put them on this list.

    The creation of this scheme equates directly to Labour either admitting that they are letting people back into society from prison who are not safe into society, or that the people they are letting out are safe and reformed, but deserve to be victims of vigilante justice anyway, hence admitting that they feel punishment terms should be longer, and should go much further than simply ensuring reform of criminals.

    But then there's the other problem- this is a government database, how long before it goes wrong and someone innocent is flagged and murdered or pushed to suicide by the vigilante mob? Not long I would wager, it wouldn't be the first time government schemes have worked completely against justice and had the entirely opposite effect to that intended- innocent people losing their lives.

  • Comment number 90.

    Will the person having information requested about them be told that someone is doing a check on them?

    If a check was bing carried out on me for any reason I wouldn't mind, but I would want to know who wants the information and why.

  • Comment number 91.

    No and I am concerned about the privacy implications. There is too publication of private information.

    It is up to parents to protect their children from all strangers, irrespective of whether or not they are on a register.

  • Comment number 92.

    LippyLippo #63

    Couldn't agree more with what you've said.
    The issue of child abuse has been exaggerated beyond belief and worst of all, it is the scumbag tabloids who are leading the campaign even though they fill their pages full of barely legal girls in an overly sexualised manner.

    Remember Charlotte Church winning "Rear of the year" when she was 15-16 years old and the pages and pages of pictures of her together with suggestive captions and stories in all of the tabloids.
    I remember one paper, I think it was the Sun, that was even running a countdown timer of when Charlotte would turn 16.
    Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen were also sold as underage objects of desire and the papers loved showing pictures of them in bikinis when they were still 14-15 years old.

    Children are at far less risk now than they've ever been but the hysteria surrounding the danger they're under is growing out of all proportion to the actual problem and the tabloids are playing both sides of the game by pretending to care about the issue while continuing to sexualise all young people, especially young girls.

  • Comment number 93.

    13. At 08:20am on 03 Mar 2010, Custador wrote:

    "The biggest category of applicants in the pilot areas was fathers concerned over the new boyfriends of ex-partners."

    "Concerned" - Yeah, right! So there you have it. Jealous men wanting excuses to break up their ex's new relationships.

    Or maybe the farther wants to know his child is safe and performing a check which the mother will neglect. As the child will probably be stolen by the mother in the break up it makes sense for the farther to want his child back and showing the mother is in a bad position to look after it (often relies on farthers money anyway) this can help the farthers case.

  • Comment number 94.

    Yes - a parent
    A view of child sex offenders - peadofiles.
    These people CONVICTED of certain child molestation should be treated exactly how they are MONSTERS. People may argue about the fact they have served there punishment. How is that comfort to the poor childs life they have ruined and the parents picking up the pieces. Why shouldnt we name and shame these awful people CONVICTED of such outrageous crimes against children. If we dont are we giving these same criminals the confidence of immunity after the crimes and also confidence the system will cover up for them once there released.
    i agree there is certain grey area's in the cases of young teenage girls and boys.

  • Comment number 95.

    This is a great idea if you commit this type of crime you should be punished for the rest of your life.A person with this kind of record should have to put a sign in front of their house and never be allowed to forget what they have done.

  • Comment number 96.

    I cannot think of a single scheme this Government has come up with that's actually done any good at all, so why should this one be any different? It's chief objectives are, like everything done by the State:
    to further the careers of petty bureaucrats and pen-pushers,
    to give the government the opportunity to boast about how brilliant it is and
    to further reduce the populace to paranoid dependance on the State.
    I agree with many who've commented that if people are a risk to children, then why are they in the community in the first place? I use the word "community" loosely.

  • Comment number 97.

    I have long wondered why child sex offenders are not routinely chemically castrated. This done our children would be safe from their predatory habits and they could rejoin society.
    I can imagine what the civil rights brigade are going say but until it happens to their child they should keep their opinions to themselves.

  • Comment number 98.

    Surely if a sex offender was in your area and he had to disclose it, all criminals who subject crime to others should also disclose it. Who knows, you might be living next door to "a sweet old man", who actually just came out of jail for killing people? Or a car thief?
    I understand that parents want to protect their children, but the best form of protection is listening and talking to their children. As some HYS members have rightly argued, most sex offenders are unfortuantely family memebers themselves.

  • Comment number 99.

    if CPS checks were done in an efficient, professional manner there would be no need for schemes like this. Details of a person's criminal record - regardless of the offence, are not a matter for the general public. I know it is a concern for parents that their children may have contact with a potential paedophile, but the handling and monitoring of these people should always remain the remit of the police and the probation service - it should not become the duty of vigilantes.

    When a person applies for a position dealing with vulnerable people, be they adults with learning disabilities, or children, then checks must be done by their future employers and updated regularly. If these checks were fool proof then there would be absolutely no need to support this information with any other list.

    Though I am not convinced most criminals are naturally recidivist and will re-offend and therefore should never be released, as the system currently stands those who have "served their debt to society" are allowed to return to it. This is a basic human right, and while I dislike it, I would rather live with it than without the other benefits human rights give me.

    The only reason people want this information is not to protect children, but to either assuage their own guilt for allowing this to happen, or to exact revenge. In either case it helps no one other than vigilantes.

  • Comment number 100.

    All this law will achieve is the formation of vigilate groups attempting to find the offender (as has happened in the usa) The offender then disappears which prevents the probation service, police etc monitoring them. Better to know where the offender is than not at all.

    As an retired probation officer i can understand the publics views however having offenders on the radar is preferable.


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