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Sarah’s Law Gets Rejected 11 April 2007

Posted by David in Law & Order.

So the government has decided against Sarah’s Law, after a flurry of opposition from the liberal left wing. A limited trial, announced earlier, seems to have either been abandoned or a false story. “It will drive paedophiles underground,” they¬†cry. But surely, aren’t they¬†underground already? That’s the whole point of Sarah’s Law, to remove them from “underground” and expose them.

The point made by Banardo’s is fair: “Sex offenders can be very dangerous people. Their dangerousness is reduced by the police and the probation service keeping them under rigorous supervision. We at Barnado’s would say make that supervision more rigorous by using satellite tracking and giving them lie detector tests. If they flee supervision then they will be very dangerous indeed and that’s what we can’t allow.”

But Banardo’s feel Sarah’s Law will put children at risk, by encouraging paedophiles to flee supervision. I can’t see how though. They will still be required to undertake the same level of supervision, just parents will know who to be careful of, particularly lone single parents who are often befriended by child abusers.

Michele Elliot, of Kidscape however, supported Sarah’s Law and described the now abandoned test as a “massive breakthrough” for parents.

I personally fully support Sarah’s Law, providing it is brought in gradually in a careful and controlled manner. Normal criminals, after paying their dues to society, have the right to return to society and rebuild their lives anonymously. But paedophiles are not normal criminals. They’re not shop lifters or petty crooks, but people with a clearly perverted mind, a perversion that is of great danger to children. Parents should have the right to know if someone with this perversion lives or works near them. If the paedophile is worried about being an out cast, they should have thought of that first.

The main fears are vigilantism, which will have to be dealt with as any criminal matter is, and paedophiles “going underground”, which would again need dealing with (perhaps by greater supervision and tracking). The strangest fear expressed is that “we will all live in fear,” presumably from people who feel safer not knowing. I myself feel safer knowing. A genuine concern is who would be on the register, which would need looking at, but in principle people should be able know the truth. If you don’t, don’t look.