Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme: People encouraged to come forward

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Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme: People encouraged to come forward

POLICE are encouraging people to come forward and use the Child Sex Offender Disclosure (CSOD) scheme.
The national scheme – which has been running in Lancashire for two years – means that anyone can ask the police to check whether an individual who has access to children has committed any child sexual offences.

But the numbers of people applying for disclosure has reduced in the last 12 months and police are encouraging anyone who has concerns whether people who have contact with their children are a possible risk to use the scheme.

Since April 2011 Lancashire has received 152 enquiries which have been classified under the child sex offender disclosure classification.  This breaks down into 60 referrals in 2011, 70 in 2012 and 23 up to 30 April 2013. Out of this number we have disclosed in six instances (case study below).

Disclosure takes place if that person has convictions for sexual offences against children and there is reasonable cause to believe a child is in danger of being seriously harmed. Details of previous convictions will be disclosed to the person who is best placed to protect the child.
If the person has other information held about them relevant to safeguarding children – for example serial domestic abuse perpetrators, then disclosure may also be considered utilising existing processes and procedures.

During a pilot of the scheme, 87 per cent of applicants were parents or guardians and they were most frequently concerned about neighbours, ex or new partners, family members or friends of family members.

Lancashire Constabulary’s Head of Public Protection Detective Superintendent Neil Esseen said: “This scheme provides members of the public with a formal way to check whether people who have contact with their children are a possible risk, and I would encourage anyone who has any concerns in this area to make use of it.

“The scheme helps parents, carers or guardians ensure that their children are safe, and also assists the police in managing known sex offenders living in the community more effectively.

“We already have a robust system to manage sexual and violent offenders through Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) and we work very closely with our partners in the prison and probation service to keep our children safe.

“We already disclose information about registered sexual offenders (RSOs) and violent offenders in a controlled way and to a variety of people including head teachers, leisure centre managers, employers and landlords, as well as parents.”

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