Media Release 18 Nov 2015
Family First NZ has made a Submission today to the Select Committee considering the Child Protection (Child Sex Offender Register) Bill, and says that a Register will not only protect the public but will also protect child sex offenders from themselves, and that it should be available to the public for serious and repeat offenders.
“How many horrendous cases of sexual abuse of children could have been prevented if the parents or caregivers were aware of the risks beforehand? Should a family be informed of the risk if a recently released pedophile moves into their neighbourhood or next door? We say – of course they should!” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“The prime purpose of the Register is to notify the public, and particularly parents of young children who need to know the background of adults who interact with their children and may place their children at risk. Rehabilitation should be an important focus, but the Register is about protecting both parties from each other.”
“In effect, there is already a ‘public’ register – otherwise known as “Google”. It is very easy to find out details of child sex offenders simply by a ‘google’ search and media reports of their cases, although this information may not be as reliable as a government register, and often names are suppressed. A Register will make the information more accessible in an age where people increasingly get their information from the Internet. We also note that the Sensible Sentencing Trust has had a public register for some time, but there have been little or no reports of ‘vigilante justice’ or danger to families,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“The protection of children should be our paramount consideration, even if that infringes on the so-called rights of the offender. There should be a bias towards the rights of the most vulnerable.”
“To bring their criminal offending in to the open and exposed to the light of day means that families and school communities will be aware of the safety concerns and can ensure that safeguards are put in place, but also that the offender themselves will be fully aware that their actions can no longer be hidden and that their trust must be earnt back over a period of time,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“When their actions are hidden and suppressed, and when they are ‘sneaked’ in to communities and living opposite schools and playgrounds with unlimited access to children, we are simply exacerbating the problem and the temptations.”
READ Family First’s Submission