Child protection and proportion

It is not uncommon for dreadful crimes to prompt public demands for some sort of dramatic response from the authorities. Usually, nothing comes of them. But the murder of Sarah Payne by a convicted sex offender in 2000 is different. Eight years after that appalling crime, the demands from Sarah’s mother that the Government take action appear to have borne fruit. The Home Office begins a trial scheme today in which parents in parts of Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, Cleveland and Warwickshire will be able to ask police if anyone with access to their child is a convicted paedophile.
So is this a British version of America’s “Megan’s Law”, named after the victim of a similar child murder in the United States? In fact, it is a very different animal. The US law allows states to publish the names, addresses and pictures of convicted local paedophiles. This information can even be found online, accessible to anyone with internet access. Access to such information in Britain under this trial scheme will be far more limited. Details will only be given out to parents and guardians, who will have to prove their identity. And any parent maliciously sharing the information given to them could face prosecution.

Written by The Independent. To read the full article, click here.

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