Child sex offender register comes into effect

  • Anne Tolley
Social Development

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says that New Zealand’s first child sex offender register comes into effect today, allowing agencies to be more proactive in managing the risk of reoffending in communities to keep children safe from harm.

“From today, child sex offenders will no longer be able to disappear back into communities after completing a sentence or order,” says Mrs Tolley.

“This is not simply a list of names. Offenders must now provide and update a range of personal information and tell Police of any change in their circumstances or if they plan to travel.

“A team of Police and Corrections staff will be responsible for monitoring and assessing this information for any risks, which can be triggered by changes in an offender’s life, so that necessary action can be taken.

“Children deserve to be safe in their communities. The register allows authorities to be more proactive in identifying risk and working to prevent reoffending and the harm that this causes to children. It also allows agencies to share information in the interest of public safety, but with strict protocols in place.”

Only authorised Police and Corrections staff will have direct access to the information on the register.

Police will also be able to release some information about an offender to a third party, such as a parent or caregiver, if there is a threat to the safety of a child or children.   

Depending on their offence and the sentence imposed, offenders will be on the register for a term of life, 15 years or eight years, and can be punished by a fine or imprisonment if they fail to give the required information or if they supply false information.

Over 1700 offenders will initially be on the register. Around 520 of these will be living in the community and required to begin reporting, with 1200 still in prison. It’s estimated that after five years, 3000 offenders will be on the register made up of 900 in the community and 2100 in custody.

Offenders sentenced to a corresponding offence overseas will also need to be registered if they intend to move to New Zealand.

More information is available at: