Diocese of Chichester Safeguarding

A sex offender has asked to  join my church

You may have been contacted directly by the offender him or herself, who tells you that they have a conviction for a sexual offence. Or, you may have heard from one of the statutory agencies - most likely Probation or Police in this case - who give you this information.

However you become aware that a sex offender wishes to join your church, please contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team immediately who will help you with this process. This is not an uncommon situation and in fact many churches throughout the country have welcomed convicted offenders into their fellowship, and have worked with their own safeguarding advisers, the police and the probation service to ensure that the offender's attendance is safe, whilst allowing them to participate as fully as possible in the life of the church community.

If you contact us about this, we will work with you, the offender themselves, probation and police to assess the risks associated with that offender's church attendance, decide whether on that basis this is the right church for them, and draw up an attendance agreement which will make clear to everyone concerned what the offender can do and be involved with in church, and what they should avoid. All involved sign this agreement and it is reviewed regularly.

This is very common practice throughout the country and is recommended in the statutory guidance document for Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements, available here