Parents urged to consider new paradigm for Sex Offender
Piha Parents urged to consider new paradigm for Paroled Sex Offender
Piha parents who have launched a campaign to remove a convicted child sex offender, have been urged to reconsider their approach by Kim Workman, Director, Rethinking Crime and Punishment.
“Their main objection is that it is impossible for the offender to avoid children. In reality, there is nowhere in New Zealand where treated child sex offenders can avoid child contact.
They have been taught strategies to avoid child contact, and in small communities where they are known to everyone, they are far less risk than in inner city accommodation,
“We would urge community and church leaders, including parents, to meet with the Community Probation Service, and if possible, the offender himself, to discuss the issue” said Kim Workman.
“Rethinking has been involved on a number of occasions in facilitating community discussions, where parents have had similar concerns. Once communities have all the information about low risk offenders, community representatives can go on to develop an agreement with the parolee, in terms of boundaries and behaviours.
They often agree to support the offender, while at the same time holding them accountable on a daily basis.
From the available information, it is clear that:
• The offender has undergone the Department of Corrections sex offender treatment programme. Of the men who undergo the programme, only 11% reoffend after 10 years.
• He is considered medium-low risk by Corrections. That would reduce the likelihood of reoffending even further.
• He is not a predator. Only about 8% of all child sex offenders offend against children who are unknown to them.
• He takes part in monthly rehabilitation meetings, and is clearly aware of what is required to integrate into a small community.
If church and community leaders engaged with the offender, the likelihood of offending would reduce even further. Where communities engage with the offender, meet with them, support them, but hold them accountable on a daily basis, research shows the possibility of reoffending reduces from 11% to 2%.
If we are serious about reducing the number of victims in the community in the long term, such a strategy will do that. Driving treated offenders from one community to the next has the opposite effect.