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How do you feel knowing that there are currently 4,191 active sex offenders roaming the streets of Victoria? Do you feel safe? Do you feel vulnerable? Let me cast your eyes over to the following poster, the larger font signifying only a portion of sex offenders currently active, the smaller font highlighting many of the victims, sadly due to the large number of victims they do not all fit on the poster. Furthermore, as a Liberal Party member currently pushing for a public sex offenders register, I want to ensure that every Victorian feels safer in their community regardless of the circumstances.
However, as a Victorian you have the right to know, who the most dangerous and penalty issued sexual criminals are in Victoria and their whereabouts. In saying that, the Public Sex Offender Register proposed by the opposition, will actively identify and notify the public of any serious sex offender in their suburb, providing them with their name, picture and any distinct features, such as tattoos, hair and physique. This register will also highlight the frequent areas that offenders are known to be around. Out of the 7,193 offenders currently on the ‘private list’ more than 4,000 of these are active. Do you know who they are?
According to research compiled by Victoria Police, there was an increase of sexual offences by 45 percent from the year 2012 to 2016. In 2017, a convicted child sex offender was released back into the Healesville Community, residing only 250m from the nearest high school. The school and nearby residential area were not notified only until a victim came forward and notified the school. The bottom line is, if there is a convicted sex offender in your area you should know about it. This is a moral and ethical right, which needs to be upheld in Victoria, as you and every other Victorian has the right to know.
With that being said were you aware that there is a running Public Sex Offender Register in WA? This legislation was passed and enacted in 2012. We are currently in 2018, and similar legislation has still not been passed. Why not? Out of the 1694, sexual offenders in WA, 800 of these are considered high risk. As a result, they have been displayed publicly to ensure that they are known throughout WA. This is in turn, resulted in a decrease of 28 offences in the first year. This not only highlights why Victoria needs a Public Sex Offender Register but cements the need for one. Similarly, there is Megan’s Law in the United Sates, this is a similar register which alerts citizens in the area about high risk offenders, which was enacted in 1997.This register has prevented over 4,628 sexual offences according to the United States Department of Justice. Ultimately, the registry has saved lives, will continue to save lives, by notifying citizens of high risk sexual offenders.
However, some people argue that passing legislation for a Public Sex Offender Register, would only encourage vigilante behavior, and recidivism. Nonetheless, this is not the case, seen in both WA and the United Sates, vigilante behavior was not a high risk, it was and is the offenders who freely roam the streets. Furthermore, an opposing argument that continues to arise is the restriction and prohibition of privacy and freedom of these offenders. However, these offenders abused their privacy and freedoms as civic minded Victorians, when they committed their offence. These offenders who are put on the register are put there for a reason, they are deemed high risk and a direct threat to the community. They not only, committed a sexual offence most of them have reoffended characterized by the 48.28 % recorded by Victoria Police. In terms of freedom, offenders who are placed on the register, violated the rights of another human being, which in turn has costed them their freedom. They ultimately still have their life, whilst some victims don’t.
Consequently, Victoria needs a public sex offender register to better manage those who pose a direct threat to society. Chief of Victorian Police Graham Ashton, asserted that ‘when registered sex offenders are non-compliant with their reporting obligations and are actively avoiding police, their risk of reoffending increases and so does the harm that they may cause to the community, by 44%.’ Furthermore, with the underlying principles of parole and bail failing the Victorian public, we need to feel that these criminals are being managed adequately. However, we don’t. Jill Meagher, Eurydice Dixon, Kylie Maybury, Masa Vukotice, Renea Lau, Stepahnie Scott. Are all victims, of sexual offences committed in Victoria, whilst the offenders were either on bail or parole. This highlights that, the justice system is failing us and ultimately Victoria needs a system that will better manage and monitor sexual offenders when they leave prison. Victorian killer Sean Price who murdered Masa Vukotice and later raped a woman in a Christian bookshop was on bail at the time. He told police he raped the women because he knew he was going to jail ‘forever’. However, whilst the convicted felon was on parole, the public was not notified. How come? He was a direct threat to the community on parole. Additionally, Michael Cardamone was put on the register in 2005 for the rape and attempted murder of a 15 yr old girl. He then proceeded to live next to a mother and her three children, as a result of the current legislation in Victoria she was unaware that her current neighbor was a convicted felon. She, was raped and murdered, by Michael Cardamone, however he is still not publicly known as a high risk sex offender, because the register is not public.
Finally, your protection as a Victorian Citizen and your safety should always be put above, that of a sex offender. The justice system needs to take rape more seriously. Period, and publicly identify these criminal for who they are.
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