A proposed register for child sex offenders could increase their chances of re-offending by isolating them from society, organisations with concerns about the plans say.
The Government has developed plans for the register to reduce the risk posed by serious child sex offenders, by providing government agencies with the information needed to monitor them in the community.
Registered offenders would have to provide a wide range of identifying information about themselves, and the information of any children who lived at the same address as them, in addition to reporting their travel plans and providing details of their online accounts.
In a submission on the plans, Law Society president Chris Moore said the organisation had “serious concerns” about how the register would infringe on offenders’ civil rights and freedoms.
Moore said a register would contribute to the social isolation of sex offenders and undermine their rehabilitation by making them identify themselves as primarily a sex offender.
“Registers stigmatise sex offenders, which may have the perverse effect of increasing their propensity to re-offend by reducing opportunities for integration.”
Moore said the Law Society supported Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson’s opinion that the law would breach the Bill of Rights Act by punishing offenders twice for the same crime.