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Sarah’s Law: Application process

What happens after you apply for disclosure information through Sarah’s Law?

  1. Step 1 : Initial assessment

    After you apply for information under Sarah’s Law, we will conduct checks within 24 hours. If we think the child is in immediate danger, we will act straight away.

    We will then decide if your request falls under Sarah’s Law. If we decide not to progress your application, we will explain why and what we might do instead.

    For example, if you are suspicious about someone’s behaviour but are not asking for information on behalf of a specific child or children, we cannot share information with you under Sarah’s Law.

    If we decide to progress your application, we will arrange an in-depth interview with you to find out more details and make sure your request is genuine

  2. Step 2 : Interview

    The interview should:

    • take place within 10 days of us receiving your application
    • be in person or over the phone

    You must show us proof of your:

    • identity – passport or driving licence
    • current address – utility bill or bank statement
    • relationship to the child or children – birth certificate or the child’s health record (red book)

    What you can expect

    If we are unable to confirm your identity or if you choose to remain anonymous, we cannot tell you anything under Sarah’s Law.

    If we can confirm your identity, we will not tell you any information about the person you are asking about at this stage as we have to complete our checks first.

    We may give you more information about the Sarah’s Law scheme, and general information on keeping children safe.

  3. Step 3 : Full risk assessment

    Following the interview, we will:

    • conduct more detailed checks on the person you are asking about
    • work with other agencies, such as schools, social care, probation and health services

    The full risk assessment enables us to make a decision on how to proceed with your application. This should take no more than 28 days, unless extenuating circumstances exist which mean an extension is required and justified.

  4. Step 4 : Sharing information

    When there is information to share

    We will tell whoever can best use the information to keep the child safe. This is not always the same person who made the application, it can be someone else.

    If more than one child is involved, we may share information with more than one person. For example, if the child’s parent is under-18, we may share information with their parent, carer, or social worker.

    When there is no information to share

    We will only tell you there is no information to share if the person you asked about:

    • has no previous record of sexual offences against children, or
    • does not pose any known or suspected risks to the child or children

    This does not mean there is definitely no risk, only that we do not know about any risks. You should continue to keep the child safe by following our advice on child abuse.

Frequently asked questions

When can I expect to be contacted?

We will only ever contact you at a time, and in a way that you have told us, is safe for you. We can also arrange to meet at a place that is convenient and safe for you.

What are my options if I have no ID?

It may be possible for a social worker or health visitor to confirm your or the child’s identity. Talk to us about identification when we contact you to work out a solution.

Do I need to keep information confidential?

If we plan to share information with you, you will be asked to sign a legal agreement promising not to tell anyone else.

We will not share any information with you if you do not sign this confidentiality agreement. If there are other people you feel should know, tell us and we will decide what to do.

Could action be taken against me?

We may take action against you if you:

  • are found to have deliberately lied in your application
  • share any confidential information with others
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