Sarah’s Law – Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme
What is Sarah’s Law?
The Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme, sometimes called ‘Sarah’s Law’, allows parents, carers or guardians to formally ask the police for information about a person who has contact with their child, or a child close to them, if they’re concerned the person may pose a risk.
The scheme is designed to allow anyone to make an application about a person who has some form of contact with a child or children.
Under the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme, the disclosure will only be made to a parent, carer or guardian, but outside of the process, disclosure may be made to others. In any event, disclosure may not always be to the original applicant as this person may be estranged from the family and not in a position to protect the child or children and therefore the disclosure may be made to the other parent, carer or guardian who is in a position to protect the child. The presumption to disclose will only exist in cases where the person has convictions for child sexual offences.
The Disclosure Scheme will include routes for managed access to information regarding individuals who are not convicted for child sexual offences but who pose a risk of harm to children. This may include the following:
- Persons who are convicted of other offences e.g. serious domestic violence
- Persons who are un-convicted but whom police or any other agency holds intelligence on indicating that they pose a risk of harm to children.
There would not be a presumption to disclose such information. The disclosure of information about previous convictions for offences which are not child sex offences is able to continue as it is not the intention of the Disclosure Scheme to make access to information concerning safeguarding children more restricted.
How do I make an application?
You can apply online by completing the Child Sex Offenders Disclosure Scheme application form, or alternatively visit your local station or call us on 101. A trained member of staff will take your details and register your application under the scheme.
If you believe a child is in immediate danger, ring 999 immediately.
Any disclosure will only be made to the parent, guardian or carer best placed to protect the child or children. Any third party making the application would not necessarily receive disclosure if they were not best placed to protect the child or children.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What happens after I make the application?
The information you receive is strictly confidential and legal action may be taken if it is disclosed to anyone else. If there is immediate or imminent risk of harm to the child this will be dealt with urgently. If there is no immediate risk, the whole process will be completed within 28 days, unless it is extended due to exceptional circumstances. If we receive information which suggests a child is at immediate risk, appropriate action will be taken.
For advice on child welfare concerns, visit our child abuse page for more information.
- Can I ask for information about anyone?
You can make an application about anyone who is in contact with a child or children.
- Will I be told what the outcome is if I make an application?
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 them.
- What if my concerns are found to be true?
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.
- Can I tell people the results of my application?
The information given to you or 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 of harm. If you share it you could be subject to criminal or civil proceedings.
What can I do? Who can help?
We have specially trained officers in our district Safeguarding Units who can provide support and practical assistance.
Reporting to West Yorkshire Police
You should report any incidents to the police by calling 101
In an emergency, when there is a crime in progress or a danger to life, always dial 999
Get in touch online via our 101 Live Chat system.
Page last reviewed September 2023.