Monday, November 12, 2012

NEW ZEALAND - Govt aims for 2014 sex offender register

Anne Tolley
Original Article


Corrections Minister Anne Tolley is off to Britain to discuss how a register of sex offenders would work, hopeful one could be established here before the next election.

The Government first signalled it was looking at such a register back in April, after a convicted child sex offender was found to have worked in several schools.

Over the weekend, Mrs Tolley told TV3's The Nation she will take a proposal to cabinet next year, and is hopeful it will be in place by 2014.

Following her recent visit to Europe, Mrs Tolley said she found Britain's system of managing violent and sexual offenders "very strong".

"What made me have a look at it in New Zealand was the fact that ... at the end of their sentence, [offenders] disappear off into our communities and we really lose track of them."

Mrs Tolley says setting up a register is a "big piece of work", because it involves looking at the entire Corrections regime, but "it's the right thing to do".

"I know there's huge community concern that these people are living out in our communities and we don't know where they are."

The proposed register would be accessible only to government departments, who would be able to monitor where offers are and "any major changes in their life that may trigger more offending".

"It is a long term management regime for these really very difficult people who cause considerable grief to members of our community. This keeps track of them, this keeps a management regime in place for as long as you need to."

However, some offenders may still be able to get around the register, such as [name withheld], 40, who earlier this year admitted using a false CV and birth certificate to get work in six schools, despite a conviction for indecently assaulting a 14-year-old.

He was arrested for breaching an extended supervision order after a person recognised him driving a van-load of children and admitted to using a friend's identity to gain work.

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