Does New Zealand need a sex offender register: Practical implications for people who have sexually offended, the survivors, families and the services that are involved
This explorative study examined the participant’s perceptions of whether New Zealand needs a sex offender register, whether such a register would be supported, and if so, by whom. The study also explored the anticipated practical implications for sex offenders, survivors of sexual abuse and their support people, if a sex offender register and community notification legislation were enacted in New Zealand. The study applied mixed methods methodology and surveyed 71 participants consisting of Police, survivors of sexual abuse and their support people, sex offenders, sexual abuse therapists, and therapists who provide treatment to sex offenders. The study also integrated a focus group consisting of seven sex offenders. The results from the study found that most participants, apart from sex offenders and the therapists for sex offenders’ cohorts supported the establishment of a sex offender register in New Zealand and believed that such a register would reduce sexual crimes. Ann overwhelming 76% of the total sample believed that a sex offender register in New Zealand would improve law enforcement and social service agencies ability to manage sex offenders in the community. Conversely, only 32% of the total sample believed that a sex offender register would improve the publics’ ability to protect them-selves from being a victim of sexual crime and most participants did not support informing the public of all information contained in a sex offender register. As expected, sex offenders opposed the establishment of a sex offender register, and purported that such a register would not have deterred them at time they commissioned their sexual offending. This cohort also anticipated significant adverse social and psychological outcomes for them and their family should they be subject to a sex offender register and community notification law. This study supports the findings of other international studies and is one of the first studies to have explored the applicability of a New Zealand-based sex offender register.
Advisor: Briggs, Lynne
Degree Name: Master of Social Welfare
Degree Discipline: Community and Social Work
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: sex offender register; sexual abuse; register; sex offender; sex offender treatment
Research Type: Thesis