Bay of Plenty Times 4th November 2010
At any one time, dozens of sex offenders are living in our community – sparking a call from a victim and leader of a lobby group to have them named and their location made public. Figures released to the Bay of Plenty Times by the Corrections Department revealed there were 27 sex offenders living under supervision in the Western Bay of Plenty as at September 30. Of those, 15 had committed offences against a child aged 16 or younger, and two were living under extended supervision orders – meaning they had been assessed as at the highest risk of reoffending sexually against children.
One Western Bay woman, who was the victim of an indecent assault in 2007, but did not want to name him out of fear of a reprisal, said it was “very scary” that 27 sex offenders were living around her. The thought made her feel “paranoid” and she felt their names and addresses should be publicly identified. “I think they should stop protecting them.” Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesperson Garth McVicar believed the country should adopt some of the hard measures he knew of in the US – including signs on sections reading “Sex Offender Lives Here”. “In California, I believe they have a different-coloured number plate for sex offenders.” “I’d like to see an open and honest system. The safety of the public should be put above the rights of the offender.” Mr McVicar said the justice system was “unfair” toward sexual abuse victims. “The system we have is weighted toward the offender.” Sexual abuse counsellor advocate Denise McEnteer, who is coordinating the newly-formed Tauranga Sexual Assault Support Services Trust, was also dissatisfied with the system. She was unhappy with the length of time court trials took, that offenders had to appear on the stand and the impact the process had on victims.