Must the National Sex Offenders Register be made public?

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Sex offenders lurk within the shadows of society, preying on children and innocent women. Those who are caught, often find themselves in the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO).

A register which the government is considering making it more accessible to people. Yet, the government is still considering making it fully available to the public.

According to Deputy Minister of Justice John Jeffery, the government needs to carefully consider making the register open to the public.

Jeffery feels opening it up fully, can lead to vigilante attacks on those who are on the list.

He emphasises that an attack is especially likely to occur if there is a rape case within a specific community. Even though the offender might not be responsible for that specific crime, because of his criminal past, the community is likely to single him or her out.

On November 20, Jeffery told Parliament that they were also considering expanding the register to include everyone convicted of a sexual offence.

Currently, the Sexual Offences Act only provides the names of people who are convicted of sexual offences against children or people with mental disabilities.

Furthermore, only the employers of people who look after children or people with mental disabilities can see the register. This is in order to verify if prospective employees are fit to work with children or mentally disabled people.

Jeffery claims this is not enough, and the register needs to be widened, possibly to include all sexual offenders. Amendments to the Sexual Offences Act will be brought forward in early 2020.

A presentation to the committee showed there were 32 570 entries in the register and 24 912 of those had been validated.

Between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019, reported rape cases increased from 40 035 to 41 583 reported cases. In the same period, sexual assault shot up from 6 786 reported cases to 7 437 reported cases.

These figures painting a bleak picture, reflecting the poor state of affairs and the struggle women and children often have to face.

Do you feel the National Register for Sex Offenders must be made public? Do you feel this will create a safer environment for women, children and the mentally challenged? Share your views and thoughts with us in the comment section below.

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