Monday, 13 January 2014

Sarah's Law in Jersey one year on - Success or failure?

It is now a year since Sarah's Law was implemented in Jersey, and in todays JEP (not online) there was a brief section about it's first year. During this year according to the article, it has been used only once (although the article does not state whether this resulted in any disclosure being made made).

So, one request for disclosure in it's first year, does this count as a success or a failure?

For me, the fact that someone has had reason enough to go through the process of formally requesting a disclosure through this scheme ultimately points to it being a success. If this request did result in a disclosure being made, then this has ultimately has been a success in that a child has been able to have been further protected from potential abuse from being in direct contact with someone who does pose a risk to their safety. If this request did not result in a disclosure, then again, this points to it being a success - maybe not in the same way, but in the reassurance that the subject was not a known paedophile who could have posed a risk, and also by getting this formally verified and not relying on third party rumours or "Chinese Whispers".

This news comes a couple of weeks or so after the UK media released figures showing the numbers of requests and disclosures made in the two and a half years since Sarah's Law was introduced into the UK. These figures show a total of 4754 requests for disclosures being made, with a total of 700 disclosures being made.

Whilst the figures for the UK seem far higher than Jersey, one needs to bear in mind the difference in population and length of time this Law has been in place. Taking this in context, with the population of England, Scotland and Wales being approx. 64 million, as opposed to Jersey's 100,000 (approx figures), and the UK figures covering 2.5 years as opposed to one year, if there had been three requests here instead of one during 2013, this would have meant that the scheme would have been used roughly in the same proportion (I think - feel free to correct me if I am wrong).
So - not used quite as often than in the UK, but it has been used, that is the main thing. The fact that we have this if people have the need to make enquiries make a disclosure request going forward, makes this a success.
We should not forget that this Law would not be here now if it were not for a remarkable person, Sara Payne and her persistence and determination to make the UK a safer place for children. Thank you once again Sara, for readers who have not read this posting from July, please take a couple of minutes to read this Sara Payne, a Huge Thank You .
For further information on Sarah's Law, please see How Sarah's Law Works

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