By AMANDA BANKS
More than one in four people believe WA’s public sex offender register does not go far enough in identifying the details of
- When is the media and wanna-be reporters going to learn the true meaning of pedophile? Not all ex-sex offenders on the registry are pedophiles. True pedophiles are rare, not the norm like they try to make it out to be.
Early results reveal 27 per cent of people who have responded to a survey as part of a study by Edith Cowan University’s Social Justice Research Centre believe all convicted child sex offenders should be listed on the website and inadequate details are provided in identifying
- Just because someone sexually abused a child doesn't mean they are a pedophile, based on the definition and not personal feelings and ignorance.
The survey has also revealed 20 per cent of about 100 respondents to the questionnaire believe the public register stigmatises offenders by invading their right to privacy (Wikipedia) and the website will encourage vigilante behaviour. This group also believed child sex offending was not common and those who committed these types of offenders and crimes were no different to other types of crimes.
Professor Caroline Taylor, head of the ECU School of Psychology and Social Science Foundation, said generally people found the sex register website easy to use.
But Professor Taylor said responses to the survey revealed the community still lacked awareness about the prevalence of child sex abuse and its long term consequences for victims.
Professor Taylor said it was of concern that the initial survey results suggested about one in five respondents did not believe child sex offences were any more serious than any other crime and were ignorant of the lasting consequences for victims of the offences.
She said the survey had only been completed by about 100 people and she was hoping up to 1000 responses would be lodged to assist the study.
“It is just a golden opportunity for people, regardless of their stance, to actually have their say and talk about why they feel it is a good idea or not a good idea,” Professor Taylor said.
“It is a good opportunity for people in a totally anonymous environment.”
The sex offender register went online on October 15 and was visited an average of 500 times a day, or had more than 90,000 hits, in the first six months of operation.
The register includes three tiers that provide levels of access and information about categories of child sex offenders and dangerous repeat sex offenders. Legislation introduced with the register also includes penalties for vigilante behaviour and republication of information from the website.