When Sarah's Law is mentioned, how many of us think of the recently introduced Law that helps parents keep their children safe from known paedophiles? How many people really sit down and think of the human cost that this Law originated from?
The above article from last Sunday's Sun, is a heart-breaking, emotional read of the thoughts and feelings of one inspirational woman - Sara Payne. Without Sara, England, Wales and Jersey would not have the benefit of being able to further protect our children from known paedophiles. As a parent, I would like to add my sincere thanks to Sara for her selfless determination in bringing this Law to fruition to help safeguard our children for the future.
I will add some links further down, which highlight how this works, how to use it, and two further jurisdictions where there are on-going campaigns to implement Sarah's Law. Please read the below from The Sun, and if you are unsure how it works, please click and real the link at the bottom of this post.
" For most people, July is the month they most look forward to. Sunshine, barbecues and family gatherings.Soon enough, schools will break up for the summer holidays and thousands of children will play in the streets outside their homes enjoying the longer evenings.
Sometimes when I see them giggling and laughing without a care in the world, it makes me smile.
Then, suddenly, I'm jolted back to reality. I find myself worried about their safety, desperately hoping they get home, back into the arms of their loving parents and families.
It has been 13 years since my daughter Sarah was taken from us but the pain of losing her doesn’t change — the pain of missing her, her bubbly voice, her happy smile.
This aching pain feels exactly the same as it did on the day she was taken.
Since that day, as a family we’ve been left traumatised and I now live with severe post-traumatic stress disorder.
Each day, I wake up and I am flooded with memories that I don’t want.
I’m currently recovering from a massive stroke, I have an active, growing family and work that keeps me busy.
But as soon as July hits, ordinary day-to-day things become difficult and I start to react in a strange way.
I suffer with flashbacks constantly — invasive thoughts that I can’t handle and everything feels so raw.
This time of year is an incredibly difficult time for me and I long for August.
Although my memory of that time is hazy, it feels like I’m back there, reliving each painful moment.
I cope however I can to get through it — it’s just about getting past it to the other side.
Once it is over, I feel such a sense of relief to know that I’ve managed to pull myself through it again.
There are no rules or guidelines on how to cope with grief.
One thing I’ve found is that time does not make things easier — it just makes me more capable of enduring the pain that losing Sarah has caused.
Sometimes, talking about the death of my little girl feels strange, as if it never happened, and other times it feels cathartic.
She would have been turning 22 this year, a grown woman. It hurts too much to think about what she would have been like as an adult.
There is no one particular thing that I miss about my beautiful girl, I just miss her.
I miss her presence in my family. Everything about her.
I try not to let darkness touch my life too much as I want to remember Sarah in a positive way.
As for my other children, we all cope with the pain at this time of year differently.
My boys, Luke and Lee, are grown men now, with their own families but all of us know that if we are needed, then we will be there for one another. They no longer need Mummy to pick up the pieces and we tend to leave each other alone to deal with our own feelings.
Since her death, working on Sarah’s Law has given me much-needed focus and positivity in my life.
I feel encouraged by the fact that change can happen in this country and I’m always overwhelmed by the amount of support I receive from families across the UK. But what means the most to me is that Sarah’s name and her picture now mean hope. She isn’t just a statistic — and that means everything.
All Sarah’s Law has ever tried to do is give parents information about people who could possibly hurt children.
To me, not having this information is just part of a secret-keeping culture. I feel so strongly that it is a parent’s right to have this information.
Sarah’s Law makes sure that no sex offenders are able to forget about what they have done and simply walk away, brushing their past under the carpet.
Their actions will follow them around, wherever they go.
They don’t deserve the gift of a clean slate and why should they?
Why should these monsters get to move from one family to another?
Before, it must have been easy for them to do this as parents could not check on them.
And I’m glad that it is uncomfortable for them now — they can’t just move on and hurt other innocent children.
Just as my own pain never leaves me, the same will be true of James Bulger’s mum Denise.
The news that Jon Venables, one of the young killers of her toddler son will be released again is horrendous. She must be going through absolute hell. Twenty years have passed since two-year-old James was abducted and murdered by Venables and Robert Thompson, but I know only too well the agony she must feel every day since losing him.
It will not have dwindled or dulled. It’s a constant ache, especially in February, the time of year he was taken from her.
Since Sarah’s Law was rolled out to police forces across England and Wales, it has become a part of everyday life.
The only negativity I ever encountered during the campaign was from suspected paedophiles.
And I take heart that if I’m upsetting them then I must be doing something right.
Sarah’s Law was received so gently by police across the country that it is just a part of ordinary business — almost as if it was always there.
But to hear the recent news that George St Angeli, a convicted paedophile, has become the first man to have his name taken off the Sex Offenders Register in a landmark court ruling — and that nearly 50 other sex offenders are applying to have the same thing done — makes me feel disgusted.
It undoes a lot of work I have toiled so hard and long on.
I know there is much more to be done. I’d like to see Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man roll out Sarah’s Law so parents there no longer have to fight for it.
I am furious they are still having the same old, tired arguments.
These arguments have been resolved and it’s been proven that Sarah’s Law works. There are thousands of children out there who have been taken out of possible harm thanks to it and I just want the same for all children, wherever they live.
I know I’m lucky that, as a result of the campaign, Sarah’s name has not been forgotten.
It is so rare that victims are remembered for good and it’s always been so important to me to make sure Sarah’s name is bigger than his.
What makes me carry on at this time of year is the knowledge that my daughter is now remembered for helping to protect other children — rather than the way she was brutally taken from me.
I don’t know what Sarah would have made of my work.
She was a very gentle little girl and sometimes I think it might have been too dark for her.
But I hope she would have been proud to see just how far we’ve been able to move forward."
Since Sarah's Law was rolled out across England and Wales, 4,229 applications have been made, and 635 children have been further safeguarded due to disclosures made to their parents/guardians because their children were in contact with adults who would pose a risk to their safety (paedophiles). Since Jan 2013, Sarah's Law has been in force in Jersey as well - hopefully anyone who needs to use it will do.
How Sarah's Law works?
Rather than a long post detailing the ins and outs, this very informative guide is probably the most in depth I have found. If you are unfamiliar with this, or want to find out more, please check this out.
There are two on-going campaigns for Sarah's Law - please pop over to offer your support. Gibraltar have a campaign on-going since earlier this year, and Isle of Man have been campaigning for the last two years. Hopefully the respective Governments will realise the benefits that this offers, see sense and implement this in the future.
A huge thank you once again Sara, a true inspiration.