Jersey to bring in 'Sarah's Law' to protect children

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A scheme to protect children in Jersey from sexual predators will come into force from the start of next year.

The Child Sex Offences Disclosure Scheme (CSODS) will allow parents to ask for a background check on anyone who has contact with their children.

It is based on the UK scheme, informally known as Sarah's Law, which has been running for four years.

Home Affairs Minister Ian Le Marquand said it would give better safeguards for children's safety and welfare.

He said: "Under the scheme which now operates in the UK, anyone can request that an individual who has access to a child or children is checked for a record of child sexual offences.

"If the individual is found to have convictions for sexual offences against a child or children, and poses a risk of causing serious harm to the child or children concerned, then this information may be disclosed to the person best placed to protect the child or children.

"This is usually the parent, carer or guardian; not necessarily the person who made the application."

It is expected when the system launches on 1 January background requests will go through Jersey Police.

The UK scheme was introduced after the abduction and murder of schoolgirl Sarah Payne in Sussex in 2000 by Roy Whiting, a known paedophile.

Last year in the UK, about 1,600 requests for information about individuals were made and 160 disclosures were granted.

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