Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme - FAQs
Q. How can I report a concern?
A.You can tell any member of Northumbria Police. Reports can be made through the Northumbria Police website (follow this link to make an application), by calling our communications centres on 101.
Q. Can I ask for information about anyone?
A.You can make an application about any individual who is in contact with a child or children.
Q. What if I see someone hurting a child – do I make a report through this new scheme?
A.If there is any suggestion that a child is in immediate danger do what you would in any other similar situation and dial 999.
Q. Will I be told what the outcome is if I make an application?
A.The person making the application may not be the person information is disclosed to. Only those with responsibility for the child or children concerned will be given the information as they are in a position to help safeguard their safety.
Q. What if my concerns are found to be true?
A.If our checks show the person reported has a record suggesting a child could be at risk, information will be disclosed to the person in the best position to safeguard the child or children. The police and other agencies will work with this person to protect the child and give advice and support.
Q. Can I tell people the results of my application?
A.The information given to you and those best placed to help the child or children is confidential and should not be shared with anyone. It is only given to help protect the child or children from risk or harm. If this information is disclosed by yourself or someone else, either civil or criminal proceedings could follow.
Q. Why has this system not been introduced before now?
A.It follows a Government review in 2007 which looked at the risks of child sex offenders managed in the community and what was disclosed to the public. It has been tried in other forces and Northumbria Police is an early adopter of the scheme - from 11 October, 2010 - before it is rolled out nationwide.
Q. Is it replacing anything – is it better than what we have now?
A. The Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme is not replacing anything. The scheme builds on existing procedures already in place to safeguard children. Northumbria already discloses information about registered sexual and violent offenders in a controlled way to a variety of people and this scheme provides a formal way for people to apply for this information themselves.
Q. Will this scheme make sex offenders go underground?
A.In the pilots already held, Registered Sex Offenders have continued to comply with their management arrangements.
Q. Is this like Megan’s Law in the USA?
A.No. Megan’s Law makes private and personal information about child sexual offenders available to the general community. This scheme, which you may have seen referred to as Sarah’s Law, carefully manages what information is given to people who have direct responsibility for children’s safety.