Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Sarah's Law proposed by DUP

Sarah Payne Image copyright PA
Image caption The law is named after Sarah Payne who was murdered by a convicted paedophile

The DUP is proposing the introduction of a paedophile disclosure scheme in Northern Ireland.

The scheme would be similar to 'Sarah's Law' - the law introduced in England, Scotland and Wales in 2011..

It allows a parent or guardian to ask police if a person who has contact with children is a child sex offender.

Justice Minister David Ford, who previously had opposed the introduction of such a law in NI, has said he will support the proposal.

Hundreds of paedophiles have been identified in Great Britain since the introduction of the scheme there.

Two DUP assembly members, Paul Frew and Lord Morrow, have tabled an amendment to the Justice Bill due to be discussed in the assembly on Tuesday.

The amendment says that guidance for statutory agencies managing the risks of offenders must "contain arrangements for the consideration of disclosure, to any particular member of the public, of information in the possession of the agencies about the relevant previous convictions of any specified sexual or violent offender, where it is necessary to protect a particular child or children from serious harm caused by the offender."

The amendment also states that members of the public provided with information may be prevented from disclosing it to any other person.

Mr Ford, the justice minister, said: "We've now got a clause that works from the point of view of the Department of Justice, works for the police and other agencies, which has bodies like the NSPCC in favour.

"Although I think we may need a couple of technical tweaks at the next stage, I'm quite happy to support the proposal that's coming forward tomorrow.

"The difference is that we are looking at building on the existing way in which the public protection arrangements operate."

Sarah's Law was named after eight-year-old Sarah Payne, who was murdered by paedophile Roy Whiting in July 2000.

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