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How Do I Find Out if Neighbour is a Sex Offender?

Author: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister – Updated: 3 August 2015 |

Q.

We have recently moved into a new area and have been told on two occasions that there is a child offender living in our street.

This is worrying enough, but the person we believe they are referring to has made several comments to us when we have been with our children. These have been quite innocent, but if this person is a child offender then the whole context changes!

We do not want to offend this person in case he isn’t a child offender, but on the other hand, if he is, then I wouldn’t let him within 100 yards of my children. For the safety of my children is there anyway I can find out if this person is a child offender?

(N.S, 27 February 2009)

How Do I Find Out If Neighbour Is A Sex Offender?

A.

I can understand your concerns, and it s only natural that you re worried about your children s safety.

You haven t mentioned who has told you this, but that it has come from two different sources. It may still just be idle gossip but your worry that a sex offender is living in your area is understandable.

Sarah s Law

In 2000, the government was considering whether to allow the public access to the sex offenders register. It is called Sarah s Law (after Sarah Payne, who was killed by paedophile Roy Whiting in 2000.) In 2010, the government piloted schemes across the country that were intended to allow mothers to find out whether their partners, or someone with whom their children had close contact, were sex offenders.

This scheme was rolled out nationwide in 2011 and since then it has protected hundreds of children from potential harm.

However, given the circumstances you have described, have you considered telephoning the police, or going to a police station, to tell them about your concerns? They have a duty to investigate your complaint.

Talking to The Police

If this individual has made comments to you about your children, or has been seen acting suspiciously, then it is obviously necessary to report this activity to the police; not only for the sake of your children, but also for other children living nearby. However, it could be the case that someone in your neighbourhood has deliberately, or inadvertently, started a rumour about this person and rumours of this nature spread like wildfire.

Who Goes on the Sex Offenders’ Register

Remember that what constitutes sex offender doesn t necessarily mean paedophile .

A wide variety of people are placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register every year, after receiving a caution or being convicted of an offence. This could be, for example, a man who received a caution for having smacked a girl on the buttocks while she was passing him on the street, a 22-year-old female teacher who had sexual intercourse with her 15-year-old student, or at the very serious end of the scale, someone like Roy Whiting, who killed Sarah Payne.

Similarly, sex offenders are on the Sex Offenders’ Register for differing lengths of time, depending on the type of offence:

  • A jail term of 30 months to life = remain on the register indefinitely (this is normally for life.)
  • A jail term of 6 to 30 months = registration for 10 years
  • A sentence of less than 6 months = on the register for 7 years
  • A community order sentence = on the register for 5 years
  • A caution issued = on the register for 2 years
  • With the exception of prison sentences of 30 months or more, minors (offenders under the age of 18) will have their registration period halved.

The Police Response

The police have all this information in their databases, and know where each Sex Offender1 lives. (If a sex offender fails to register, or fails to report a change of address, he or she could go to prison for up to five years.) If you are worried you should contact the police and apply under the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme for information regarding the specific person you are concerned about.

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Leave a Comment, Ask for Advice or Share Your Story…

@fletch25. Do not do anything hasty, this may be a rumour that has no basis.

As the article says: “If you are worried you should contact the police and apply under the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme for information regarding the specific person you are concerned about.”

ProblemNeighbours – 4-Aug-15 @ 1:49 PM

Iv heard one of my neighbours got sacked from a school for having sex with children years ago. My child and a lot of other children on my road play outside his house on the green. I NEED TO KNOW if this rumour is true I Darnt let my child out to play.

What do I do?

fletch25 – 3-Aug-15 @ 6:03 PM

@Crazy daisy. Start be asking him to refrain. If he doesn’t complain to your local police.

Obviously just because he is wolf whistling does not make him a sex offender, but it’s not an appropriate way to behave and is making your daughter feel uncomfortable so take action.

ProblemNeighbours – 6-Jul-15 @ 11:13 AM

Just after advice for what crosses the line – Recently my just turned 15 year old girl has said a neighbour who is over 50, and sits at his upstairs window keeps wolf whistling at her every time she passes his house and is making her feel very uncomfortable what can be done ??

Crazy daisy – 1-Jul-15 @ 9:00 PM

@randomlawyer. Thanks we’ve clarified the information in the article too now.

ProblemNeighbours – 7-May-15 @ 9:53 AM

Quote: “…and others (including those who are cautioned or get community sentences) are on the register for 7 years. ” This is factually incorrect. The 7 year tariff only applies to convicts who receive a prison sentence of less than 6 months.

If a convict receives a community order then he will be on the register for 5 years. If a caution is issued then he will be on the register for 2 years. Also, with the exception of prison sentences of 30 months or more, minors (offenders under the age of 18) will have their registration period halved.

RandomLawyer – 30-Apr-15 @ 1:10 PM

@Dwn.

The answer is in the last paragraph of the article above.

ProblemNeighbours – 23-Apr-15 @ 2:25 PM

How can I find out if my neighbour is a phedophile?I’ve Hurd a number of people say but I need to no for sure

dwn – 21-Apr-15 @ 12:15 PM

HI, My first wife had a na ffair with a police officer, and then made awful allegations about me to get her divorce, these allegations included forced sex and violence, and were utterly untrue. it was a terrible thing, I was investigated by the Police, and Then by Social Services and then by CAFFASS and then five family court Judges. none found any trught in these allegations, i was never charged, cautioned, or even warned even though they did arrest me over her allegations.

I was relaesed without charge or caution. I spent two years in the divorce courts, and emerged with my assets and i have had my daughter every other weekend for over a decade now. in short these allegations were investiagated and no truth was found, and the divorce courts gave me my life and daughter back.

it was a terrible time for me, and one that should have closed and never been thought of again. I eventually remarried. my wife was from america nd came here to join me.

she was approched by the local police, unbeknownst me, and they told her i was a covicted sexattacker and violent criminal. they gave her specail number to call in case of emergency and assigned her a protection officer with whome she had anaffair whihc included abusing me in my sleep. she musthave fell out with him, becasue she made an excuse to go tot americ and see her paretns, and in the car onthe way to the airport, she told me all about it.

I thought it was joke at the time she never came back and we divorced, and i kept asking her about the police thing she told me inthe car, but she never spoke to me again. I evenutally had a new girlfriend Ieva. she too was approcached by the police, and otld stories of rape and violence.

she told me right away, she didnt belive it, but she didnt want to hang arond in such a wierd situation. she too was given a specail number and a proteciton officer. e this has all been very hard on my daughter and I, we get a famly again, and then then have it ripped away by the police.

with htese stories. How did base less allegations mde 15 years ago, become facts that the police can use to stalk everyone I have dated since my first wife? Surely is not legal for the police to hunt downmy giorlfriend and tell them these baseless allegations from 12-13 years ago are facts?

how can i find out if i have been out on sexual offence register accidently, or on purpose by one of these officers that seems to have some persoanl grudge? what shall; i do, i cant afford a lawyer, and the IPC and IPCC and ICO dont listen to the non represented. i want these corrupt lying officers brought to justive and i want to be free to live my life.

every new neighbour in my street cowers away when i intoduce myself. can anyone help me with this?

Andy – 18-Apr-15 @ 3:44 PM

I have just found out that the daughter of my next door neighbour has been convicted of grooming a 16 year old girl.Apparently she has been given a 2 year sentence and has been put on the sex offenders list for 10 years.My problem is that I will want to sell my property in the next 6-12 months and worried about how this will affect the sale.I’m not moving because of this it is something that has been planned. regards

mae – 11-Apr-15 @ 8:32 AM

Just to Answer sugars question on December 1st 2014, yes being a sex offender being towards an adult or children is very serious and is a good enough reason to have a computer taken away.

This is so that police can check for indecent images or videos of extreme pornography, maybe involving children or even animals. A family member of mine who i shan’t mention, is a child sex offender and is in prison. When he was arrested his computer was taken and later destroyed as they found images and videos of an extreme pornographic nature …

Crime STOP – 8-Jan-15 @ 10:29 PM

@sugar.

You should not jump to conclusions when seeing activities like this. If the police considered your children to be at any risk you would have been informed.

ProblemNeighbours – 4-Dec-14 @ 10:56 AM

sometime last year my nextdoor neighbour stepped out of a police car that pulled up outside my house the police officer was holding a computer hard drive and took it into my neighbours house. since this incident I have been very worried and concerned about why this happened.

I have two children. is this a serious crime for police to take away someones computer.

sugar – 1-Dec-14 @ 7:42 PM

How can I find out what a friend did to be on the sex offenders register.

suz – 16-Jun-14 @ 2:48 PM

Doing a research for my university essay. How many registered sex offenders are in Scotland.

neri – 1-Apr-14 @ 9:11 PM

my man has said he has witnessed child abuse but he had sex with me whilast I was asleep.

I woke up and punched him which is out of character. he wouldn’t not say anything…noteven sorry

mckyra – 14-Mar-14 @ 10:53 PM

is there any way of the public checking if some one is on the sex offenders register please?

trena – 2-Jul-13 @ 8:40 PM

my son split from the mother of his 10yrs old daughter 9yrs ago his ex g/f parents dont have contact with them till 5 weeks ago when her mum took her down there when my granddaughters mum was in senior school she said her dad sexually abused her and also took her to his friends for him to do the same my sons ex g/f left her family home age 16to get away from the abuse and from age 18 when she met my son has been part of our family her dad now wants to have contact with my granddaughter and her mum has took her made up a load of lies so she can get legal aid to stop us seeing our granddaughter we are going through court but we aint getting anywere as we are representing ourselfs and she has a barrister based on lies we canprove can we find out about my sons ex g/f dad as my granddaughter is at risk

worried grandmar – 3-May-13 @ 4:44 PM

My partner and I had a tenancy in east ayrshire. We had to leave it because of peoples NASTY CRUEL COMMENTS.

Fact 1- my partner isn’t a sex offender, ask the police.Fact 2- the woman who started the rumours has previously been on probation for falsley accusing a man of RAPE! Fact 3- Her sister brought her kids up as she is an alcoholic/meth head. Fact 4- Her son comes to visit and she buys him cocaine, unknown to her sister who thinks she is paying off his coke debt!

All this started because we are a quiet couple keep ourselves to ourselves! Well you’ve all got blood on your hands as I miscarried our baby through stress YOU JK put me under!I WILL NEVER FORGIVE WHAT YOU PEOPLE DID TO US. You very nearly killed me too, NEARLY tore my relationship apart, you didn’t succeed!

We are trying for another baby, have a better house and are in a loving happy relationship. The truth is my husband knocked you back, he wouldn’t be unfaithful to me and you couldn’t accuse another man of rape because you narrowly missed prison last time so you made up these disgusting lies. I hope you and you’re drug addled family rot in hell!!

FALSLEY ACCUSED – 12-Mar-13 @ 12:56 PM

A new neighbour was moved in by what looked like social workers or probation rather than family, he had “trouble” in his previous flat and had to be transferred.

He is quiet and unassuming and a bit odd, and we heard rumours he was a paedophile. Now, a year on he has met a young woman with children and he has them there at weekends. We can hear through the walls what sounds like a constant kids party.

He truly does seem to play with them more than talk to the woman. I don’t want to accuse him of anything but worry about the kids. Can I ask the police to check if he is on the register?

Di Lemma – 9-Dec-12 @ 6:42 PM

Im horrified at the lack of help from police and children services my wife has just moved out took my 2 small children to her mothers now that dont sound bad until you know the facts firstly children services put in black and white my wifes mothers partner had convictions for child sex offences but because it was before 1997 and he goes to them 1 day a week hes fine ?also her 2 brothers and mother have been convicted of violent offences in the last few years I expressed my concerns to the police they went round then told me my concerns I have for my childrens safty are a waist of time so contacted children services and they backed the police how can we protect our kids if nobody will act on your concerns ?

I just have no idea what else I cando to protect my kids from harm

r1 – 3-Dec-12 @ 12:22 AM

@big sammaybe if you weren’t so paranoid and accusing to your neighbour he wouldnt have treated you the same way you treated him like a scumbag, im sick and tired of people like you who accuse others without any proof just because someone wishes to look out of there own windows, you are the ones that make other people lives a misery, by being a snooper and a nosy neighbour, you deserve what you got for crying wolf when there was no wolfs about, I was accused of being a pervert by a neighbour just because I looked out my windows on a daily basis and they made my life a bloody misery! now they have gone and moved (probably kicked out from doing drugs), I actually get on better with my other neighbours and the couple who accused me are long forgotten and seen as skumbags, go figure!

jay – 26-Jul-12 @ 2:42 AM

My sister has two small children and has just got a new boyfriend who has told her he is on the sex offenders list for one year because of a sexual assault he made on a young woman im worried incase he is lying why he on the list and he is really on the list for hurting children sexually and would like to know if you can find out why a person is on the sex offenders list ?

kit kat – 30-May-12 @ 9:10 PM

last year i noticed again the man next door peering over the garden fence breaking his neck looking up the garden into our house. problem is we have 3 girls 13 down to 9 and this made me fill uncomfeterbal.

i spoak to another neighbour 2 doors down and they had the same problem some years ago. they surgested putting up a higher fence. i did this and since then he has made our lives as bad as he can calles the councle about almost every thing he thinks of trying to upset us.

we even put a high fence up in the front garden as he started looking in to our house when he was putting stuff into his bins. when you put things together it seams quite strange that we used to talk to him. calling police asap.ps i no my spelling is bad.

regards

big sam – 26-May-12 @ 11:24 PM

My sister has a 13 year old daughter and has a new boyfriend he has just Served 9 years, he got 20 years, she dosn’t want to no why but I do, I’m worried he could be a sex offender.

cheese – 8-Jun-11 @ 8:32 PM

References

  1. ^ Sex Offender (www.problemneighbours.co.uk)

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