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Just ask the victims...

Just ask the victims...

The Sensible Sentencing Trust is very disappointed that both Labour and the Greens are opposed to implementing a national sex offender register. They claim that such registers are historically prone to mistakes which can devastate innocent people’s lives. Excuse me? Is that a valid reason to not put the safety of law-abiding citizens ahead of sex offenders? Perhaps it would be a good idea for Charles Chauvel and David Clendon to speak to some of the thousands of victims of these degrading, horrific, and downright disgusting crimes before making such statements. It seems with such statements show that Labour and the Greens do not value a New Zealand safe from crime.

It is a well known fact that the incidence of reported sexual crime is far lower than the ‘real’ level and that for sexual crimes (particularly rape) it is notoriously difficult to gain convictions. Sexual crimes are right up there in the highest category of offending and the worst thing is that most sexual offenders are never caught or punished. Sexual crime is degrading and many victims carry the scars and burden of it for the rest of their lives.

A sex offender register will put the interests of victims and law-abiding citizens first: simple as that. It provides a simple and effective means of monitoring sex offenders and provides an incentive for them to not re-offend if they are to have their name removed from it. It is also a useful tool for officials who need to make informed decisions. It should also be used to keep victims up-to-date as to the whereabouts of their attacker so that they can feel safe in their own homes and know that their attacker is not living only a street away.

To illustrate the lack of logic in the reasoning of Labour and the Greens it is appropriate to reason by analogy. The justice system gets it wrong fairly often and innocent people are sometimes sent to prison: remember Arthur Alan Thomas? Remember Phillip Johnston and Jayden Knight? Last time I checked Labour and the Greens weren’t calling for the justice system to be scrapped as a result of it devastating the lives of those innocent people. Their logic (or lack of) on this matter seems to be nothing better than attracting the vote of people who would rather excuse an offenders behaviour than hold them accountable for it. Furthermore their concerns can be adequately addressed by writing good quality legislation that explicitly controls the use of the sex offender register.

Charles Chauvel’s argument of a sex offender register being a ‘slippery slope’ is one that should be confined to the court room of his legal training. It is borderline disingenuous to make such an argument in this case and is disappointing from a usually reasonable politician.

And if David Clendon of the Greens doesn’t think ‘unreasonable attention’ is not already given to some offenders after release then why do the police feel it necessary in some instances to advise local communities of such offenders in their midst? Simple – because the police attempt to put community safety first and the rights of the law-abiding before those convicted of a sexual crime. A sex offender register will simply give the police and corrections another tool to assist the rehabilitation of sexual offenders. His opposition to it may speak volumes for the lack of compassion he has for the thousands of victims of sexual crime in New Zealand every year.

New Zealand once was, and can be again, one of the safest countries in the world if we have the will and determination to stand up against crime and refuse to accept it as a part of our lives. We all have a right to be safe within our own homes, streets, and communities. We will continue to fight for a New Zealand safe from crime and advocate for a tough stance to be taken against those who would have those rights taken away from us.


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