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Sunday, 6 August, 2000, 00:51 GMT 01:51 UK
'Sarah's Law' proposals in full
Sara and Michael Payne
Sarah's parents have backed the proposals
The News of the World, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), the police and the probation service have listed their proposals for a change in child protection laws - which they are calling "Sarah's Law".

Empowering parents to protect children

1 It is every parent's right to have controlled access to information about individuals in their neighbourhood, including convicted child sex offenders who may pose a risk to their child.

In appropriate cases this access should be also given to responsible members of the public who have a responsibility for the care of children.

2 There must be severe penalties for any person who abuses access to this information.

3 Parents should be able to access a local record of all organisations to determine if their employees or volunteers are subject to the child access vetting procedures.

4 Government should establish a task force to review existing programmes to promote child safety for children and parents.

Empowering victims of sex abuse

1 When passing sentence, courts should have the power to prevent offenders contacting or living near their victims. The orders would be made on the basis of representations made by the victim.

2 Release licence conditions should include restrictions on contact with victims.

3 Every child victim of sexual abuse should as of right receive appropriate support, counselling and therapy.

Making prevention more effective

1 The existing police vetting arrangements for people intending to work with children should be extended to cover all voluntary organisations. The government should make funds available to allow voluntary organisations to apply for the vetting information free of charge.

2 The existing Sex Offender Register should be amended to:

  • Require registration to be made within 72 hours of release from custody.

  • Require registration to be made in person at designated police stations.

  • The offender should be required to have his or her photograph taken for identification purposes at the time of registration and at any other reasonable time when his or her appearance has changed.

  • The re-registration of offenders should take place at pre-determined intervals.

  • The penalty for failing to comply with the register should be increased from six months to five years' imprisonment.

  • Offenders should be required to notify foreign travel.

3 Sex Offenders Orders should be extended to enable high-risk offenders who fall outside the current sex offender registration requirement to be included in the register.

4 Sex Offenders Orders should be revised to enable the police to make greater use of them as a pro-active tool.

5 It is every victim's right to understand the sentence imposed by the court. Victims have a right to know what period in custody the offender will actually serve.

6 Sex offenders should be subject to a risk-assessment process at the time of their sentence by the court and indeterminate sentences be imposed in appropriate cases.

7 Where an offender is assessed as suffering from severe personality disorder, and as a consequence poses a significant threat to children, he or she should be detained in secure accommodation.

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