9.0 Sex Offender Community Disclosure Scheme (Keeping Children Safe)
The Sex Offender Community Disclosure Scheme (Keeping Children Safe) scheme was introduced across Scotland in 2011 and is managed by Police Scotland.
The scheme enables parents, carers or guardians to make a formal request for information about a named person who may have contact with their child if they are concerned that he or she may be a risk to their child's safety and wellbeing.
A review of the process was carried out in 2017 following which an online application form was developed to provide more accessibility.
In 2019/20 the total number of applications received by Police Scotland was 296 (an increase of 17 on the previous year) of which 241 were online (an increase of 50 on the previous year). Each application is carefully reviewed and risk assessed by specialist officers within Police Scotland.
Over 2019/20, 40 of the 296 applications related to RSOs. As a consequence, a total of 18 disclosures were made to parents, carers, or guardians.
If the person subject of the application has been convicted of a sexual offence against a child; has a conviction for, or information is held by the police which is assessed may put a child's safety at risk, then consideration must be given to sharing information with the parent; carer or guardian which is necessary and proportionate to enable them to protect the child. In cases where the police believe that an individual does pose a risk to the child concerned, discussions will take place with partner agencies and steps agreed and progressed to ensure the child's safety. Where applicable, relevant information is provided to the child's parent, carer, or guardian.
Where disclosure is not considered necessary and proportionate, the police will give the parent, carer, or guardian advice about keeping their child safe and will make sure they are aware of the available supports.
Police Scotland provides governance and coordination for the scheme to ensure it is publicised widely and embedded in national police training.