10 Jan 2007

NICCY to ask if high risk sex offenders have returned unchecked to NI

THE Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley, is extremely worried at the potential risk to children if high risk sex offenders have returned to Northern Ireland after committing crimes abroad.

Ms Lewsley said she has written to the Secretary of State today asking for the Northern Ireland Office to check if any of the 540 offenders who committed crimes abroad are currently in Northern Ireland, and if they pose a risk to children.

“I was extremely worried to learn that there is a potential risk to children and young people,” said the Commissioner. “We could be in a situation where an adult is in a trusted position working with children and young people who is a convicted paedophile in another country.

Ms Lewsley said NICCY has raised concerns about vetting of adults who work with, or volunteer to work with children and young people.

“NICCY has made a series of recommendations to Government on the vetting of adults,” she said. “We are currently discussing with Government about how these are implemented.

“However, one of the key recommendations was that information on offenders should be shared and managed across international boundaries.

"This information was passed on to the Home Office, but from today’s reports it seems that nothing was done with that information until quite recently.”

Notes for Editors 

  • Details of NICCY's Review of Vetting can be found here
  • You can find further information on the work of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Chidlren and Young People here on the web site

MEDIA ENQUIRIES For more information please contact Andrew McGall, Communication Officer at NICCY on 028 9031 1616 or   communications@niccy.org