Child sex offender register Bill passes second reading

  • Anne Tolley
Social Development

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says a Bill to establish New Zealand’s first child sex offender register has passed its second reading in Parliament.

The Child Protection (Child Sex Offender Register) Bill enables agencies to be more proactive in the management of offenders by assessing and monitoring risks to public safety so that appropriate action can be taken.

“At the moment child sex offenders can disappear into communities when they have completed their sentences or orders,” says Mrs Tolley.

“When this legislation is passed, they will be required to provide a range of personal information which must be updated following any change in their circumstances.

“This will allow a dedicated team of Police and Corrections staff to know where they are and track changes in their lives, which can be a trigger for reoffending, so that necessary action can be taken in the interests of public safety. This includes providing offenders with support to reduce their risk of reoffending.”

Offenders will be required to be on the register for a term of life, 15 years or eight years depending on their offence and the sentence imposed.

Any failure to give the necessary information, including giving false information, is punishable by a fine or imprisonment.

“Budget 2016 invested $8.2 million in development and operating costs for the register, with Cabinet already having agreed $35.5 million for the technology component,” says Mrs Tolley.

“Children deserve to be kept safe from harm, and the register will provide us with another tool to try and prevent reoffending by child sex offenders.”