Sex offender community disclosure scheme: overview

How to apply to the police for information if you have concerns about someone's access to a child.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1) You mention child protection procedures. Does this mean my child can be taken away from me?

A1) Children are only ever removed from their families in rare circumstances where they face a risk of serious harm if they remain in that environment.

Community disclosure is a process to help parents, carers or guardians better protect their children. Children may not be taken away from the family home if the parent, carer or guardian works with the police, social work services and other involved agencies to make sure their child is safe from harm.

Q2) Will the person I am asking about know they are being investigated?

A2) No, unless they are found to have a record for sexual offences against children or offences relevant to the protection of children. In such cases the police, along with other agencies, will decide the best way to proceed to protect you and your children. This may involve the police working with the person to encourage disclosure.

Q3) Will the person I am asking about know I started the investigation?

A3) No, your confidentiality will be maintained unless there is a good reason to decide otherwise. In this case, the offender may be informed that you are to receive information about them but this will depend on the circumstances.

Q4) Will the person investigated have any sort of record just because I've asked about them?

A4) The police will keep a record of the enquiry in order to help with the evaluation of how successful the community disclosure has been and also for policing purposes. This is NOT a criminal record of any kind but it will allow police to keep a record of any concerns in case a pattern develops in relation to a particular person.

Q5) I have met a new partner and he has informed me that he has a conviction for a 'sexual crime' when he was younger. He told me he was caught flashing but it was all a big mistake as he was just fooling around. He visits me and my children at my house. Can I find out more about this conviction?

A5) You can ask the police to check whether your partner has a record for sexual offences against children. The police will then check his criminal record including the 'flashing incident' and may provide further information to you. It may be the case that he is not telling you the whole truth about the incident and if this is the case and the police have concerns they may disclose this to you.

Q6) My teenage son sometimes has sleep overs at my brother's house when I am working. My brother has separated from his wife and has a new girlfriend but my son says he feels 'uncomfortable' in her presence and does not like being alone with her. I've tried speaking with him about her but he refuses to talk about it. I don't want to upset my brother but I am concerned at her behaviour, can I ask the police for information on her as my son is 15 years of age?

A6) It is important to realise that, although uncommon, females as well as males commit sexual offences against children. Your son's behaviour may be as a result of inappropriate behaviour by this woman therefore you can ask the police if she has a record for sexual offences against children. Remember, this process is aimed at children of all ages as long as they are under 18 years of age.

If you think a child is in immediate danger, call the police on 999. Contact Police Scotland to find out more about community disclosure or to make an application.

Police Scotland Headquarters
PO Box 21184
FK10 9D-E2

Call 101

For all non-emergencies and general enquiries. 101 is the number you call if you need to contact your local police.

Deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or speech-impaired callers can contact the police via TextRelay on 1 800 1 101.

Calls to 101 from landlines and mobiles cost 15 pence per call, no matter what time of day you call or how long your call lasts.

Or visit the Police Scotland website


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