Sex Offender Registers

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Public Sex Offender Registers: The Concept of Community Notification

Community notification laws authorise the public disclosure of a convicted sex offender’s information, (such as their name, address, offending history, car registration etc.) to anyone who has access to the Internet. Community notification should not be confused with basic registration of sex offenders, because register records are usually not made public. However a number of commentators have suggested that merely registering sex offenders for use by law enforcement agencies is not enough, it is necessary to have the information available to the public. Cases which have attracted media frenzies, usually sexual assaults and murders involving children, have served to push …show more content…

Furthermore, when information sharing is increased it allows greater access to data on sex offenders. This would help law enforcement to promote justice by having equal access to information. However, at this stage there is not enough research to show to what extent this will impact the justice system’s efficiency.

Members of the public can protect themselves

Proponents for sex offender registers claim that they provide an effective preventative tool because, if people know where offenders reside, those in the community can protect themselves from the risk that sex offender pose. The supposition is that by knowing a sex offender resides in your community, the community can take steps to prevent being victimised. One of the reasons that communities want to know where sex offenders reside is that it may assist the community to “feel better”, however there is no empirical evidence that public safety is actually increased, and if anything, community notification is more likely to instil fear in …show more content…

A study found that one-third of sex offenders surveyed on the register in Florida experience some sort of adverse consequence such as acts of vigilantism and harassment, inability for offenders to find jobs and housing, housing prices lower in communities with sex offenders and loss of friends and family support. The two main rationales behind community notification are enhancing public safety and reducing recidivism. However many studies have proven that community notification does not enhance public safety or reduce recidivism, the consequences for the offender are mainly negative and will not assist in rehabilitation into

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