Sarah's Law

The Child Sex Offenders Disclosure Scheme (CSODS) known as Sarah's Law following the abduction and murder of 8 year old Sarah Payne. Sarah's mother campaigned and worked with the home office to develop this disclosure scheme.
The aim of this scheme is to allow anyone who has concerns about a child being at risk from a child sex offender, making an application to the police for further information to protect the child.
Once an application is received by the police, the police will review all information held on the person who has access to the child.
If police checks show that the person who has access to the child has a record of child sex offender investigations and poses a risk to that child or children, information may be disclosed to the person who is best placed to protect the child (usually a parent or guardian).
If you feel that a child is in immediate danger, ring 999 straight away.
In all other circumstances you can make an application by:



How do I apply?

If you feel that a child is in immediate danger, ring 999 straight away.
In all other circumstances you can make an application by
  • Visit a police station.

  • Phone 101, the non-emergency number for the police.

  • Speak to a member of the police on the street.

    Leaflets- Home Office booklet


Any person having concerns about the welfare or safety of a child or young person has a responsibility to act upon these concerns to allow them to be safeguarded.

If you have any doubts we would prefer to receive a false call with good intentions rather than no call.

 Remember: in an emergency call 999.



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What cant this scheme be used for?

This scheme does not replace existing arrangements for the Vetting and Safeguarding Children Procedures.


If you are enquiring about someone you wish to employ or already employ, then you should undertake a full CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) application, following the correct procedures.


For further information please see the Home Office Criminal Records Bureau or tel. 0870 90 90 811 for further information.


A disclosure will only be made to the relevant parent; carer or guardian of the child(ren) ; otherwise your concerns will be dealt with under normal safeguarding children procedures.







Who can apply?

  • Grandparents and neighbours are also invited to use the scheme but it is most commonly used by parents and guardians.


Will the person I'm asking about know they are being checked, and who made the application about them?

  • If information is disclosed, we will always try to keep the details of the applicant confidential.
  • If information is disclosed the person you are asking about may be informed that the parent/carer/guardian of the child(ren) is to receive information about their relevant criminal history. All disclosures are carefully planned by police and partner agencies, to minimize risk of harm to all concerned.


Who will the information be disclosed to?

  • The information will only be provided to the person responsible of keeping the child(ren) safe.
  • The person receiving the information must agree to keep it confidential.
  • Relevant checks will be carried out by the police and with appropriate partner agencies. This can take time but will be completed as soon as possible.
  • You will be asked to provide proof identification, photographic ID would be preferable if you have it, we need to confirm the identify of the person asking for the information before any information will be given out. 



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If disclosure takes place, can applicants warn family and friends about the subject's criminal history?

  • No, information given out is confidential.
  • The person who receives the information must sign an agreement before receiving the information that they will not tell anyone else.
  • If you feel like someone else needs to know, tell the officer. This will then be looked into and a decision made as to whether the information need to be given to someone else.
  • The Information is for the purpose of safeguarding the children named in the application.



What will be done to stop offenders becoming victims of vigilantism?

  • The police and other agencies are in regular contact with offenders and if information is given out this will be carefully managed.
  • If anyone feels they are likely to become a victim of vigilantism or have been targeted, they should contact the police.
  • In all cases of disclosure the risks to the offender and the impact on the community will be considered. However, this is second to the protection of child(ren) which is always the most important factor.


What happens if someone tries to make a false application?

  • Making a false application in an attempt to receive the personal information to which they do not have a lawful right of access is an offence.
  • The offence is under the Data Protection Act 1998. is under the Data Protection Act 1998.
  • This offence is more commonly referred to as 'blagging' and is punishable by an unlimited fine at Crown Court.
  • Anyone providing false information in their application or misusing any information disclosed, for example by engaging in vigilantism or harassment, will be subject to police intervention and possible prosecution.


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