Police seek to raise awareness on sex offender disclosure scheme

EFFORTS TO IMPROVE the awareness and accessibility of the Sex Offender Community Disclosure Scheme are being made by Police Scotland.

The scheme enables members of the public to formally request information on persons involved in their family life – particularly if they suspect that they may have previously sexually offended against a child.

Introduced primarily to empower parents and carers to seek a formal disclosure route on individual, the scheme can also be used by communities who may raise an application if they are concerned about any individual in contact with children.

All applications receive a considered and proportionate response coupled with information of partner organisations who can provide help and advice on child sexual abuse – while the online application does not affect previous methods of applying through 101 or attending a Police station for more information.

It is not a new scheme, however Police Scotland are seeking to encourage access through the online application as another means of encouraging awareness of child sexual abuse and promote access to partner organisations who are able to offer help and advice on keeping children safe.

Members of the public who have specific concerns for a child’s safety should contact Police or social services.

T/Detective Superintendent Elaine Galbraith Police Scotland, said: “Keeping children safe is everyone’s responsibility, we all have a role to play in ensuring children and young people grow up free from the risk and threat of harm.

“Where children are at risk of harm, Police Scotland and other statutory agencies will take measures to protect those children. Our priority will always be to ensure children are protected.

“The Sex Offender Community Disclosure Scheme or Keeping Children Safe is an additional element of that wider child protection picture aimed to empower parents, carers and guardians to take action if they fear that someone who is in contact with their child may be a sex offender.

“Parents and carers will now be able to make an initial application online rather than in person. Police Scotland will then assess whether it is appropriate to proceed to a full application for disclosure.

“Our first priority always will be to ensure that if a child is at risk of harm action will be taken immediately to ensure that child’s safety.

“If anyone has any concerns about a child’s safety or wellbeing they should contact their local social work services or Police Scotland on 101 or if they suspect a child is in immediate danger they should call 999.”

As well as working with statutory services, Child Protection Committees and other organisations and agencies to deliver child protection across Scotland, Police Scotland work in partnership under the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements to manage registered sex offenders living in Scotland’s communities.

The new online application form can be accessed here.