Sarah's Law: How to find out if a paedophile or rapist lives on your street

| Author: Secretariat | Filed under: General News
Sarah's Law: How to find out if a paedophile or rapist lives on your street

Sarah's Law was introduced in England and Wales 10 years ago and is named after eight-year-old Sarah Payne, who was abducted and murdered by a convicted paedophile.

People living in England and Wales can find out if a convicted paedophile or rapist is living on their street under a law borne out of tragedy.

Sarah's Law was was rolled out across police forces in the two countries in April 2011, allowing anyone to ask the police to check whether people who have contact with their child or children pose a risk.

If the person has convictions for sexual offences against children or poses a risk of causing harm, the police can choose to disclose this information confidentially to the parent, carer or guardian, ChronicleLive reports.

Previously, a parent could raise concerns about someone, but there were no clear rules about whether or not they should be told anything if officers discovered cause for concern.

Police can also warn parents if concerns are raised by grandparents or neighbours.

How did Sarah's Law come to be?

Sara Payne, the mum of Sarah Payne, who was murdered by a convicted sex offender, campaigned for the Government to bring in measures to protect children.

Sarah, from Hersham, Surrey, was just eight-years-old when paedophile Roy Whiting abducted her while she was out playing with her siblings near her grandfather's home in Kingston Gorse, West Sussex, on July 1, 2000.

She was grabbed as she walked back to the home along a country road after playing hide and seek in a cornfield.

The search ended in heartbreak when the youngster's body was found 16 days later in a field near Pulborough, about 15 miles away from where she was last seen.

Grief-stricken Ms Payne became a leading advocate for child protection and worked endlessly to campaign for and bring in Sarah's Law, formally known as the Child Sex Offenders Disclosure Scheme.

She was awarded an MBE by the Queen for her victim advocacy and child protection work.

She wrote a book, called A Mother's Story, about her life and her daughter's death, and co-founded Phoenix Chief Advocates to help those victimised by paedophile crimes, challenge the institutional anti-victim prejudice, and help people with PTSD.

Sarah's father Michael, 45, died of natural causes at his home in Maidstone, Kent, in October 2014.

Whiting, now 62, lived in a seafront flat in Littlehampton, about five miles from the lane where he kidnapped Sarah.

He had previously abducted and sexually assaulted an eight-year-old girl, serving four years in prison.

He became a suspect early in the investigation and in February 2001 was charged with kidnapping and murdering the schoolgirl.

Whiting was convicted in December 2001 by a jury at Lewes Crown Court, and sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 40 years.

He will be 82 when he is eligible for parole.

Who goes on the Sex Offenders’ Register?

It's important to note that a sex offender and a paedophile aren't necessarily the same thing.

A range of cautions and offences can get someone placed on the Sex Offenders' Register.

Someone could get a caution for smacking a girl on the behind while she walked past them on the street.

Source:  The Mirror

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