Thursday, September 23, 2004

Child sex offenders to be monitored in NSW

New South Wales Police Minister John Watkins says convicted child sex offenders in south-western Sydney will be monitored during a six-month trial.

The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties says it is concerned that the monitoring could become a system of harassment.

The vice president of the council, David Burnie, says there is a danger that intensive monitoring could hinder attempts by offenders to reform their behaviour.

"That is the real danger, that the system just becomes a system of harassment," he said.

"That'd be our concern that after a period of time it may just degenerate into a period of harassment rather than actually a system of assessment."

Watkins says a Child Protection Watch Team will track convicted sexual predators living in the community.

He says police, corrective services officers, health professionals, and housing department workers will be on the team. He has told State Parliament that the group will review offenders' criminal histories and behaviour and make risk-assessments. Watkins says the team will take steps to protect children who are perceived to be at risk.

"They will provide an early warning system for inappropriate actions or associations or living arrangements and they will take proactive measures to prevent these criminals from re-offending," he said. "They'll ensure police are ready to pounce if the danger does increase."

In Other Developments:

Crime facts INFO: Australian Institute of Criminology 13 April 2004

A report titled Recidivism of sexual assault offenders rates, risk factors and treatment efficacy provides an overview of Australian and international research on sexual, violence and general recidivism among sex offenders.

Despite the assumption that sexual offenders are particularly prone to reoffend, reconviction rates for sex crimes are relatively low.

Sexual offenders are similar to the general offender population in terms of their criminal histories and their sociodemographic and psychosocial characteristics the report says.

"They are versatile offenders, with a large proportion having convictions for violent and 'other' offences, such as drugs or property crimes.

At the same time, they may specialise in particular types of sexual offences within their general criminal careers.

The risk of recidivism varies for different types of sex offenders, with rapists tending to be more criminally versatile than child molesters.

A retrospective study of 629 persons aged 16 years and over, who were apprehended by Victoria police on suspicion of sexual assault of adults pointed to a considerable degree of recidivistic activity between 1993 and 2001. A substantial number had been previously apprehended for violent (n=222) -and other-offences (n=348)."

" The number of sexual offences per individual was lower than for the other crime categories."

By Monitor 23 September 04

ED: Most child molesters come from families by focusing on people outside the families the children affected are less likely to believed when they say it was for instance 'my uncle Bill'.

Surveillance is done with an electronic bracelet, which is attached to you for the length of your sentence and tracked through your phone back to central control. If you go outside the house without permission, it registers an escape. You must stay at home 24 hours a day unless you get permission to eg. work, do community hours, education. You receive phone calls at home throughout the day and night to monitor you.   

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