News

Academics warn against the dangers of sex offender registers

CALLS for a sex offender registry have gathered momentum since the Daniel Morcombe case, but legal groups warn it could lead to vigilantism.

Once the verdict was read out last month and convicted killer Brett Peter Cowan was sentenced for the murder of the Sunshine Coast teenager, the media could finally report on Cowan's past - that revealed he had twice been to jail for attacks on two other boys.

Queensland University of Technology School of Justice lecturer Dr Kelly Richards said she was opposed to the idea of a sex offender registry as it provided people with a false sense of security.

"The role that it plays is to placate angry and frightened people in the community," she said.

The role that it plays is to placate angry and frightened people in the community.

"But the lynch mob issue is a serious one."

Dr Richards said Australia should instead consider support group programs such as Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA) to help with reintegration into society.

"It originated in Canada but has been widely used in places across the US, UK and New Zealand," she said.

"COSA is a group of trained volunteers that act as support network for sexual offenders to help them with things like accommodation and employment.

"And the other side of it is the accountability side of things where volunteers work with police and correction staff, counsellors and so on to keep an eye on these offenders."

Dr Richards said the volunteers monitored problematic behaviours among the offenders and because these crimes thrived in secrecy and isolation this group broke that cycle.

Would you support a sex offender register?

This poll ended on 09 April 2014.

No, I do not support the idea of a sex offender register - 26%

I'd support a register only if it had detailed information to avoid mistaken identity - 30%

I would support a sex offender register - 37%

I'm not sure - 4%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

"If the offender is exhibiting those trigger behaviours then the circle will report that to the authorities," she said.

"There have been some rigorous studies of it and it showed dramatic reductions in reoffending."

CQUniversity School of Law lecturer Lance Rundle said any government that considered a sex offender registry would need strict controls on who could access this information.

"Say for example there is a person with a similar name or a paedophile has moved from an address and it hasn't been updated on this register," he said.

"You could end up with the wrong person being accused of a crime."

Mr Rundle said if a person reoffended in a small community it would be difficult for them to gain a fair trial.

"That might be difficult in places like Bundaberg or Rockhampton."

Topics:  daniel morcombe editors picks pedophiles



Ergon is sweating on us to save power during heatwave

CLEAN UP: Make sure you clean your air-conditioner filters, says Ergon's Roslyn Baker.

Top tips to reduce power used by air-conditioners

Bushfire threat continues months longer than expected

Unseasonally hot and dry weather has firefighters on alert

More than 100 passengers affected by train derailment

A freight train has derailed at Raglan.

Emergency services respond to freight train accident

Local Partners

Why Emma Watson turned down Cinderella

Emma Watson in a scene from the movie Beauty and the Beast.

HARRY Potter star has standards when it comes to Disney princesses.

Master artists showing pastels at Gin Gin

PASTEL POWER: A piece by Tricia Taylor from the Pastel Society of Australia.

Contemporary Master Artists of Australia has opened at Gin Gin

Wonder Woman a ‘disjointed disaster’, says DC insider

Gal Gadot in a scene from the movie Wonder Woman.

INSIDER says the much-hyped blockbuster will disappoint.

Kid nails Swift impersonation

Seven-year-old Xia Vigor nails Taylor Swift impersonation on the Philippine talent show Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids.

TAYLOR Swift has a seven-year-old doppelganger.

Ariana Grande 'hardest working 23-year-old on Earth'?

Ariana Grande

Not everyone was impressed with Grande’s self-proclaimed work ethic

Why The Walking Dead cast are paid a pittance

Despite massive ratings the cast haven't been shown the money

Sunday auction for historical home

Former Catholic school sure to attract spirited bidding

Looking back, looking ahead in Noosa

NEVER-ENDING GLORY: Looking towards Laguna Bay and Hastings St from Noosa National Park.

Natural appeal of Noosa continues to attract buyers

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

KNIFE-EDGE: The housing tightrope we now face

Even the smallest interest rate rise will be hard for some to handle.

One if five home owners at risk, according to new analysis

'Difficult times': Rental prices tipped to increase in 2017

GREAT BUYS: There are some great rentals and houses to buy in South Gladstone. Head to gladstoneobserver.com.au for the top 10 homes under $100 to rent right now in the Gladstone region.

Investors may soon see a "profitable return” on properties.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!