Calls are being made for the establishment of a Sexual Offenders Registry. Essentially a Sex Offenders Registry is a system in various countries designed to allow government authorities to keep track of the activities of sex offenders, including those who have completed their criminal sentences.
Advocating for this system is Caribbean Voice, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) with a membership that operates on a voluntary basis. The NGO is one that focuses on anti-violence, especially suicide prevention in the Caribbean and its Diaspora.
Speaking at a forum yesterday Mr. Nazim Hussain, Coordinator for the Guyana Chapter of Caribbean Voice, said “If we were to establish a Sex Offenders Registry you would know who the people are who have in the past committed these atrocities.”
According to Hussain, much in the way the police keep mug shots and a list of names of suspects, the registry is one that will ensure that the names of sex offenders are kept in database too.
But Hussain explained that keeping such a measure in place does not mean that allowance will granted for the sex offenders to be castigated.
“A Registry is not meant to castigate these people and not allow them a role in society because we strongly believe that people can change,” said Hussain.
“We don’t want to castigate people; we understand empathy, in that many times these things happen because of a reason,” Hussain related.
It is however the expectation of the Caribbean Voice that the Sexual Offenders Registry will be one that will not only help officials be able to put a tag on the offenders, but also provide training to them too. The aim, he said, is to help to reform the offenders with the hope that they can become law-abiding citizens.
Sex offender registries exist in many English-speaking countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, as well as Israel. According to reports, sex offender registration does not exist outside of the English-speaking world.
Information also suggests that the United States is the only country with a registry that is publicly accessible; all other countries in the English-speaking world have sex offender registries only accessible by law enforcement.
In risk-based systems, the offender is screened against a scientifically-validated screening tool, and determination of inclusion is made, according to the results. In offence-based systems, registration is required when a person is convicted under one of the listed offences requiring registration.
In some jurisdictions, where sex offender registration is permitted, registration is accompanied by residential address notification requirements. In many jurisdictions, registered sex offenders are subject to additional restrictions, including on housing.
Those on parole or probation may be subject to restrictions that do not apply to other parolees or probationers. Sometimes, these include [or have been proposed to include] restrictions on being in the presence of underage persons [under the age of majority], living in proximity to a school or day care centre, owning toys or items targeted towards children, or using the Internet.
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