MaureenKanka is one of the most successful grassroots reformers in recentUnited States history, but it is a distinction she would much ratherhave avoided.
Seven years ago her daughter Megan, then seven, wasabducted, raped and killed. Now, largely thanks to 42-year-old MrsKanka's resolve, the so-called Megan's law means every state has a sexoffender register. "There's no reason why it can't be that way inEngland," she said yesterday at her home in Hamilton, New Jersey.
"Idon't mean this in any way as an insult, but your people are so properand worried about stepping on toes that the government loses sight ofwhat they're there for - providing safety, awareness and education forparents and children.
"I don't know why they're so hard pressedagainst this. Has anyone in parliament come up with anything moreeffective? What are they waiting for, another child to be abused?
"It's impossible to deal evenly with the offender and the public. Your government is putting the offender first."
In high risk cases in the US, the police can go door-to-door warning families within several miles of an offender's address.
Mrs Kanka is convinced that the system has worked well, but such facts as exist are not all encouraging.
Registrationin the US is said to be 80%, against 97% in Britain. There have beenreports of offenders being attacked, others going underground andinnocent people being misidentified.
Megan's killer himself is in jail, awaiting execution.