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New measures to keep kids safe from sex offenders
A range of tough new measures that will enhance the protection of children from sex offenders was unveiled today by the Home Secretary, John Reid.
The 'Review of the Protection of Children from Sex Offenders' has carefully considered what extra steps are needed to enhance the protection of children from sex offenders. It looked at evidence from stakeholders, current operational practice and how other countries tackle the issue.
The review sets out 20 actions to further strengthen efforts to keep children safe, these include:
* Pilot a new process allowing parents or guardians to, for the first time, request details of possible sex offenders in certain defined circumstances;
* Introduce a legal duty on the police and probation services to consider in each case whether a child sex offender's conviction should be disclosed in order to protect the child, with a presumption towards disclosure;
* Review the use of satellite tracking to monitor high risk sex offenders;
* Develop the use of drug treatment to help reduce sexual drive and subsequent offending;
* Pilot the use of compulsory polygraph tests to ensure child sex offenders are not reoffending;
* Extend the information that offenders must provide when on the Sex Offenders Register to include for example email addresses, or when they are starting a relationship with a woman who has children; and
* Community awareness campaigns to ensure parents are aware of how child sex offenders are managed and how they can best protect their children.
Home Secretary John Reid said:
"There are few crimes more horrific than sexual offences against children. Ensuring that this most vulnerable group in society are safe is at the heart of the Government's agenda.
"The UK already has the strongest restrictions on child sex offenders. Today's new measures will strengthen protection allowing disclosure for concerned parents and guardians and tougher treatment for those abusing children.
"For the first time there will be circumstances where members of the public will have the right to request details of possible sex offenders who may have contact with their children.
"The review introduces a wide range of new measures and it is right that we ensure these are correctly implemented through a piloting process"
In response to the Child Sex Offender Review report by the Home Office, Terry Grange, Association Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead on Child Protection and Chief Constable of Dyfed Powys, said:
"ACPO have been working with the Home Office during the review period and are confident that the measures being taken will improve safety for our children. The police service is committed to protecting the most vulnerable groups in our communities and will implement the measures announced today by the Home Office."
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. A copy of the Review of the Protection of Children from Sex Offenders' can be downloaded from the Home Office website at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/
2. The Home Office and Ministry of Justice will provide an extra £1.2 million to Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) areas to increase their capacity to manage offenders and protect the public. The new system of disclosure will initially be piloted in three police forces backed by £1.5 million in new resources. In addition, the Government will be committing £150,000 to pilot a community-awareness campaign in partnership with the Stop It Now! charity.
3. An oral statement was presented to Parliament at 12.30pm