Some confusing information has been published in newspapers this week about a governmental review of how best to handle information about child sex offenders, a spokesman said today.
'The review is not complete. The review is studying different methods that could be used to ensure that families are protected, and that children are safe. However, that review has been underway for some time and no final decisions have yet been made.'
As part of the review, laws in other countries - including the United States - have been studied, and as part of their research, ministers have travelled abroad to talk with their counterparts in other governments.
'They're looking at the pros and cons of other systems in an effort to determine what would be best for Britain.'
The spokesman added: 'there continues to be discussion within government' about the options available, and as the research is still going on, talk of the specifics of the final report is premature.
Studies show that the vast majority of child sex abuse involves family members, and those conducting the review are looking at ways of addressing this problem so that mothers can better protect their children.
The Home Secretary has said consistently that he would like the review to explore methods by which we can shift the balance of power so that information now held by government officials could be made available to vulnerable young mums.
Parents already have access to basic information about the number of sex offenders known to be living in their area, and head teachers are told about the location of local 'approved premises' if child sex offenders are housed there.
The spokesman said: 'Under the existing public protection legislation, a limited form of disclosure already exists, and the review is looking at how best to focus the impact of any extension to this important principle.'
A report will be released in the coming months detailing the findings of the review, but no precise date has been set at this time for the completion of the review and the release of the report.
Children & adult services