Sex offender disclosure scheme

Finding out if a suspected perpetrator is already known to the police

If you know the identities of the people you believe your child is with when they are missing and you strongly suspect they are exploiting your child, then you have the right to enquire if they have a previous history of sexual offences.

The Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme (also known as Sarah’s Law) enables parents to enquire whether a person who has access to a child is a registered sex offender, or poses a risk to that child.

In order to make a formal request, parents need to visit a police station in person. You will need to be seen by a specialist officer, so be prepared to wait or call back. The officer will listen to your concerns and invite you to submit a formal request for information. You should receive a reply within 7 days. In exceptional cases information might be disclosed at the time.

You can read more about the scheme by visiting direct.gov.

If you find out that your child is in contact with a known sex offender, you could ask to be referred to CID Headquarters (CIDHQ) by calling 101. Staff there will be able to direct you to the relevant specialist team who may be located in the Public Protection Unit (PPU) or Child Abuse Investigation Unit (CAIU).