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NEW ACTION TO PREVENT SEX OFFENDERS WORKING WITH CHILDREN

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New action is to be taken to prevent sex offenders from working with ...
New action is to be taken to prevent sex offenders from working with

children, home office minister Alun Michael has announced.

An inter-departmental working group of officials is to be set up to

look at concerns that the various safeguards which already exist are

not fully integrated and to ensure that there are no loopholes.

The group will:

- look at whether a central register of people who are deemed

unsuitable for working with children should be set up

- look at the possible creation of a new criminal offence for anyone

on that list who seeks work with children

- consider further measures to protect 16 and 17 year olds who may be

vulnerable to abuse by those in a position of trust such as carers,

teachers and leaders of organised residential activities

The group will draw upon the consultation exercise 'Sex Offenders: A

Ban on Working with Children' and on the recommendations made by Sir

William Utting in his review of safeguards for children living away

from home.

It will include representatives from the home office, department of

health, department for education and employment and other government

departments.

It is expected that the group will make its final recommendations to

ministers by the end of the year.

Mr Michael said:

'We are already taking action on a number of fronts to protect

children and vulnerable adults from the dangers of sex offenders who

live and seek work in the community.

'We have acted to make sex offenders tell the police where they live

and if they change their names. This ensures that the police know

where they are and can monitor their behaviour.

'Our Crime and Disorder Bill will bring into law Sex Offender Orders.

These will stop known sex offenders behaving in a way which threatens

our children. There would be serious penalties for breach of an

order.

'The Bill will also extend the supervision of sex offenders in the

community after they have finished their sentence. This could be for

up to ten years. If they remain a danger they can be returned to

prison.

'And we plan to make criminal records checks more widely available by

implementing Part V of the Police Act.

'We must work together to make sure that there are no loopholes.

This is why we have set up a new working group to ensure that our

children are given the protection they deserve.

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