Sarah's Law to be rolled out

Sarah Payne. The law her mother has campaigned for is to be rolled out across England and Wales
Sarah Payne. The law her mother has campaigned for is to be rolled out across England and Wales

By politics.co.uk staff

Sarah's Law, which sees parents given information about sex offenders in their area, may be rolled out across the country, ministers have suggested.

The law, which was established after a campaign by the mother of eight-year-old Sarah Payne, who was murdered in 2000, is currently a pilot scheme in Southampton, Warwickshire, north Cambridgeshire and Stockton-on-Tees.

But encouraging results from the trial means it may not be rolled out across England and Wales.


The law allows families to ask police if the people with access to children have convictions or previous suspicion of abuse. The law appears to have been cautiously adopted, with just ten of the 150 parents making inquiries given relevant information.

"Early results are extremely encouraging and the pilot has provided crucial protection for children who might otherwise be at risk," home secretary Alan Johnson said.

Commons leader Harriet Harman told the Politics Show the scheme could help mothers who had been targeted by sex offenders as a means of getting contact with their children.

Many observers had been critical of the scheme when it was piloted, saying it could see the return of vigilante activity or make sex offenders harder to track by driving them underground.

But most of those concerns appear to have been alleviated by the pilot scheme.

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