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Goff moving on control of child sex offenders

Goff moving on control of child sex offenders

Justice Minister Phil Goff hopes to introduce legislation to Parliament by the end of the year that will significantly extend the monitoring and control of high-risk sex offenders.

"The continued management of child sex offenders beyond the parole period they face after release from prison is of major concern to the government," Mr Goff said.

"The preferred option would be to have high-risk offenders subject to an extended supervision regime for up to 10 years after their release from prison.

"Under the sentencing Act 2002, the worst child sex offenders are likely to receive preventive detention, which is a life-long sentence that better protects the community.

"Anybody sentenced to preventive detention is under the supervision of the justice system for the rest of their natural life. If they continue to be a risk they will continue to be locked up. If they are ever released they are effectively on lifetime parole and can be recalled to jail at any point.

"The proposed new regime would apply to those not sentenced to preventive detention but about whom there is concern about the likelihood of them reoffending.

"I have indicated to Cabinet that I would like the conditions to also apply to offenders who are either in jail or released under supervision conditions at the time the Bill is introduced.

"An extended supervision regime could be imposed where there is a substantial risk of an offender committing further sexual offences against children beyond the period when supervision must ordinarily cease. It will also need to be likely that supervision would lessen or prevent the risk of reoffending.

"We also need to improve the ability of agencies to monitor sex offenders in order to minimise the chances of them re-offending after release. We are considering what advantages a register would provide over current information systems in New Zealand.

"Information sharing is principally a practice issue and satisfactory protocols must be put in place. A number of agencies are currently developing a best-practice model in Dunedin to improve inter-agency management of child sex offenders during their parole or supervision period.

"The model will be fully operational by July 1 and will help better identify gaps in inter-agency cooperation. Any need for legislative change, such as establishing a register, will be identified as part of that work.

"Analysis is also being undertaken on whether or not current systems of vetting people who work with children are adequate," Mr Goff said.

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