Liberty Victoria labelled the opposition’s proposed plan to allow concerned parents access to photographs and other details of sex offenders "an unnecessary and costly scheme that would have no impact on the rates of sexual offences in Victoria."
Liberty Victoria President Jessie Taylor dismissed the proposal as “an irrational and expensive attempt to make political gain out of a highly emotive issue without reference to any available evidence.”
“We understand that there is anxiety around the presence of sex offenders in the community. However, studies have shown sex offender registries have no impact on rates of re-offending and the addition of photos is likely to create needless confusion and suspicion in our community by over-emphasising the threat of ‘Stranger Danger’”.
“It is difficult to understand how the register would make our communities safer given that the vast majority of sex offenders know their victims,” Ms Taylor said. "We must and do protect victims of sexual offences, and that is the purpose of registration and supervision orders. However, we must take great care that we do not expose those who are undertaking rehabilitation in the community to acts of vigilantism. Under the current regime a registered sex offender must report any changes to their personal details to police and must not be involved in employment that is child related."
“Being placed on a sex offender register already has a significant impact. Many cannot obtain employment and may have trouble finding accommodation if there are children living in the same apartment block.”
"It's also important to note that a number of registered offenders are young people themselves, who may have fallen foul of sexting laws or been in consensual sexual relationships with other teenagers, and have become ensnared in harsh and inflexible registration laws".
“Allowing the photographs, identities and locations would only further marginalise offenders and has the potential to make them more likely to reoffend. There is no rehabilitative or safety benefit in the proposed scheme.”