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Sex Offenders

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
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jaywhat
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Sex Offenders

#1 Post by jaywhat » February 17th, 2011, 5:01 pm

Nick says in Votes for Prisoners thread -
We now apparently have a situation where the Court has decreed that it is against their "Human Rights" for someone to be on the Sex Offenders Register for life without appeal. Hmmm... I wonder how keen the judges would be to leave their children in the care of a sex-criminal, even if he has "been good" for 20 years...

The Court has over-reached it's role and should be constrained. And it is cruisin' for a bruisin' with the Commons.



I think we should read between the lines and see what is being said.
All they are getting, after a good few years locked up and having shown they have changed, is the right to appeal..
It is reported almost as if it is 'the right to be removed from the register' and in my opinion the politicians are as bad as the journalists - if not worse.

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Alan C.
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Re: Sex Offenders

#2 Post by Alan C. » February 17th, 2011, 5:07 pm

I don't think you can be "cured" of paedophilia any more than you can be "cured" of gayness.
They should stay on the register for life, appeals whether successful or not; cost money.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Alan H
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Re: Sex Offenders

#3 Post by Alan H » February 17th, 2011, 6:20 pm

jaywhat wrote:All they are getting, after a good few years locked up and having shown they have changed, is the right to appeal..
It is reported almost as if it is 'the right to be removed from the register' and in my opinion the politicians are as bad as the journalists - if not worse.
I have no idea whether some paedophiles can change their ways so they become 'safe'.

However, it's not as simple as some anti-HR make it out to be. I listened to a short discussion on the radio yesterday. Take the example of a 22-year-old teacher falling for a 15-year-old boy in her class. She is guilty of under-age sex and, IIRC, there is a mandatory three year sentence and she is placed on the sex offenders register for life. She eventually marries, has kids. She has grand children. Yet at 70, she still has to tell the police every time she moves house or wants to go abroad on holiday.

That kinda clouds the simplistic view of tabloid journalism, doesn't it? The right of appeal does not mean that appeal will be granted.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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animist
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Re: Sex Offenders

#4 Post by animist » February 17th, 2011, 6:51 pm

Alan C. wrote:
Alan C. wrote:I don't think you can be "cured" of paedophilia any more than you can be "cured" of gayness.
but the question is not whether a paedophile is "cured" but whether they are likely to reoffend; there must be many paedophiles who never commit an offence, just as there were many gays who hid their sexual propensity when it was not safe to come "out". I don't know - obviously those ex-offenders who intend to offend again are unlikely to abide by the requirements of the Register anyway, and there is no guarantee that an appeal would be granted. Offenders whose sentences are less than 30 months get off the Register after a certain time anyway, so I don't see why those with longer sentences should have absolutely no hope of ever doing so.

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animist
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Re: Sex Offenders

#5 Post by animist » February 17th, 2011, 6:54 pm

Alan H wrote: However, it's not as simple as some anti-HR make it out to be. I listened to a short discussion on the radio yesterday. Take the example of a 22-year-old teacher falling for a 15-year-old boy in her class. She is guilty of under-age sex and, IIRC, there is a mandatory three year sentence and she is placed on the sex offenders register for life. She eventually marries, has kids. She has grand children. Yet at 70, she still has to tell the police every time she moves house or wants to go abroad on holiday.
that case sounds a lot like the Zoe Heller novel (and film) "Notes on a Scandal"; yes, life does not fit the simplicities of the tabloids

Nick
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Re: Sex Offenders

#6 Post by Nick » February 17th, 2011, 7:45 pm

(cross posted)

You are quite right, Jaywhat, about it being the right to appeal, rather than the right to come off the register. I think my post says that, but maybe it could have been clearer. As I see it, there are three issues here: is it safe to de-list someone who has been guilty of a sexual offence? Do the offender's "human rights" trump those of the populace? And who has the right to dictate what policy should be?

On the first, I am inclined not to de-list (even if we allow appeals). I am inclined to agree with Alan; would you put a reformed alcoholic in charge of the drinks cabinet? Different offenders represent different levels of risk, of course, and maybe this should be reflected in the register, but I still think it is a pretty fundamental aspect of character. I knew a chap who was on the offenders register. He had had an inappropriate relationship with a 16 year old while a teacher. He said there was no sex, but I can't prove it one way or another. Would I have trusted him with my six year old daughter (if I had one)? Yes. Would I trust him with my hyperthetical 16 year-old daughter? No. Not ever.

On the second, we should, as a society, not treat everyone as a danger. And yes, such a policy will fail from time to time. But, IMO, it is impossible to protect everyone, all the time, from every danger. And indeed, to do so could actually encourage people to seek out danger in other areas, besides reducing quality of life. We have seen plenty of evidence of this, as volunteers decline to be treated as suspicious, and an interest in children is treated as perverted, while children are protected to the extent that they remain unaware of potential dangers, leaving them more vulnerable than before. But where a person has been convicted of a crime deemed serious enough to put them on the register, then on the register they should remain.

Thirdly, I think that the concept of "human rights" has been shown to have over-extended itself, when conflicts such as this start to occur. IMO, if a "human right" can be curtailed, it is not a "right", but is conditional. Talk of "rights" muddies the waters- we should use other language. More importantly, IMO, we, in the UK, should be able to decide our own legislation, and not be subject to arbitrary judgements from overseas. While we in the UK might not be right all the time, I think, on balance, we have a pretty good track record, comparatively, and to be subject to law from beyond our borders attacks the legitimacy of laws and judgements within it. And it's nice to know that some of the top judges in the UK agree with me.

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Val
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Re: Sex Offenders

#7 Post by Val » February 17th, 2011, 7:47 pm

Does not the wording read something like "if the offender can prove he is no longer a danger to children". Surely this means he/she has to prove a negative, which cannot be done.

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Dave B
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Re: Sex Offenders

#8 Post by Dave B » February 17th, 2011, 7:50 pm

I agree that it is far too easy to give in to a knee jerk reaction and tar all with the same brush. One needs to know the whole of the story before judging - and that is what we have judges for (and I think the larger majority of them do as good a job as is humanly possible.)

With regards to the media: well, papers are, for me, something I use to light fires with and as emergency loo paper - they have little other value from my experience over the years. The only one I read is the Metro when I take a bus ride into town. That actually has a fairly good style, dunno about the accuracy.

As I get older I find myself getting more and more reactionary, more intolerant, I admit - this forum is one of the steadying influences in my thoughts!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
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Dave B
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Re: Sex Offenders

#9 Post by Dave B » February 17th, 2011, 7:58 pm

Val wrote:Does not the wording read something like "if the offender can prove he is no longer a danger to children". Surely this means he/she has to prove a negative, which cannot be done.
Agreed, that only way he/she can do that is to actually take the risk of allowing contact with children that offer him/her opportunities that they then ignore.

An impossible situation.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Nick
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Re: Sex Offenders

#10 Post by Nick » February 17th, 2011, 8:13 pm

(cross posted again! This time with Dave and Val. :) )
Alan H wrote:
jaywhat wrote:All they are getting, after a good few years locked up and having shown they have changed, is the right to appeal..
It is reported almost as if it is 'the right to be removed from the register' and in my opinion the politicians are as bad as the journalists - if not worse.
I have no idea whether some paedophiles can change their ways so they become 'safe'.
I don't know either, but I speak as a (typical?) man, who is repulsed by the thought of being personally involved in both gay sex and paedophilia. For someone who is not so minded, I see them as being unlikely to be fundamentally able to change their sexual preferences either. Note however, that I have no objection whatsoever to adults indulging in gay (or lesbian or almost any other type of consentual) sex. They are adult, so it's their choice. Paedophilia is not equally consentual.
However, it's not as simple as some anti-HR make it out to be. I listened to a short discussion on the radio yesterday. Take the example of a 22-year-old teacher falling for a 15-year-old boy in her class. She is guilty of under-age sex and, IIRC, there is a mandatory three year sentence and she is placed on the sex offenders register for life. She eventually marries, has kids. She has grand children. Yet at 70, she still has to tell the police every time she moves house or wants to go abroad on holiday.
There should be scope within the administration of the register to be pragmatic. And I'm inclined to think that this example would not be equally applicable to men. Not by a long chalk. Just look at Berlesconi. Would you trust him with you daughter? I'm also inclined to think the 15 year-old lad was not too upset by the process either....
That kinda clouds the simplistic view of tabloid journalism, doesn't it? The right of appeal does not mean that appeal will be granted.
I think it more shows the stupidity of "rights" as portrayed in the media. Whatever happened to pragmatism?

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Alan C.
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Re: Sex Offenders

#11 Post by Alan C. » February 17th, 2011, 8:48 pm

Alan H
However, it's not as simple as some anti-HR make it out to be. I listened to a short discussion on the radio yesterday. Take the example of a 22-year-old teacher falling for a 15-year-old boy in her class. She is guilty of under-age sex and, IIRC, there is a mandatory three year sentence and she is placed on the sex offenders register
But that case can not rationally be described as paedophilia (doesn't the victim have to be pre-pubescent?,) and I'll wager she wasn't given a prison sentence (mandatory or not)
Had it been a 22 year old male teacher and a 15 year old female pupil, he would certainly have been banged up.

I wonder what would happen if two 15 year olds were caught having sex? Would they both be jailed? Just the boy? Neither?

My broadband is back up to speed :D

Edit.
You listen to Jeremy Vine Alan? (I looked it up on iplayer) I can't stand the bigoted prick.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Alan H
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Re: Sex Offenders

#12 Post by Alan H » February 17th, 2011, 10:08 pm

Nick wrote:Thirdly, I think that the concept of "human rights" has been shown to have over-extended itself, when conflicts such as this start to occur. IMO, if a "human right" can be curtailed, it is not a "right", but is conditional. Talk of "rights" muddies the waters- we should use other language.
It is the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and this became the Human Rights Act in the UK. Using the word 'right' is a shorthand for any of the rights or freedoms afforded by the ECHRFF, whether or not it might otherwise be categorised as a right or a fundamental freedom. That is the language we have and those rights are afforded by that. All those rights can be 'curtailed' - that is why we need laws to dissuade governments, etc from doing the curtailing, but that does not make them any less a right.

Which of the rights and freedoms, if any, do you think we should derogate from?
More importantly, IMO, we, in the UK, should be able to decide our own legislation, and not be subject to arbitrary judgements from overseas.
You know full well that such pejorative language is just that: pejorative. They are our laws and our judgements just as much as they belong to 'foreigners'. We (as in the UK) signed up to those laws, legitimately, by the democratic process. And I do have to wonder why you label their judgements as 'arbitrary'. By what measure do you think they are arbitrary?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Fia
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Re: Sex Offenders

#13 Post by Fia » February 17th, 2011, 10:44 pm

I am concerned by Nick's
but I speak as a (typical?) man, who is repulsed by the thought of being personally involved in both gay sex and paedophilia
I understand what you are saying, but, as the tabloid press, you pop them both together [-X Homosexuality and paedophilia are linked only in the gutter press.
Nick wrote:Paedophilia is not equally consentual.
Quite. Which is one of the many reasons why it is crucial to have human rights enshrined in our law. However politically uncomfortable that may be. An adult society protects the interests of those who may need it most: the powerless.

Nick
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Re: Sex Offenders

#14 Post by Nick » February 17th, 2011, 11:10 pm

I hope, Fia, (and indeed your post demonstrates,) that if you take my post as a whole, you will agree that I don't equate homosexuality with paedophilia!

You say "human rights" are important. Well, yes. But what we are now seeing is an expansion of so-called "human rights" which are nothing of the kind. "Rights" are a slippery concept at the best of times, and are far too important to have them arbitrarily defined by foreign judges.
An adult society protects the interests of those who may need it most: the powerless
Precisely, potential victims, not convicted sex-offenders.

Fia, I ask you, how far would you trust a "reformed" paedophile with your daughters?

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Sex Offenders

#15 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » February 17th, 2011, 11:18 pm

Alan C. wrote:I don't think you can be "cured" of paedophilia any more than you can be "cured" of gayness.
(Oooh, I don't like that analogy at all.) In any case, we're talking about those on the sex offenders register for life, not specifically paedophiles. It will include those who have committed sexual offences against adults, if they've been sentenced to three years in prison or more. And my guess is that those who have been convicted of raping adults would form a significant proportion of those on the sex offenders register for life.

And not all those convicted of sexual offences involving minors are paedophiles [---][/---] i.e. not all of them have a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children, or meet the clinical diagnosis standards for paedophilia. That is, not all child sex offenders have a psychiatric condition of which they need to be cured. And paedophilia is still considered to be a psychiatric condition, unlike [---][/---] thank goodness [---][/---] homosexuality. And some of those convicted of serious sexual offences are themselves minors.
Alan C. wrote:They should stay on the register for life, appeals whether successful or not; cost money.
So what? Lots of things cost money. David Cameron's decision to fight the courts on this issue is going to cost a hell of a lot of money too. That's surely not a valid criterion for judging whether it's the right thing to do or not.

I think animist is right in saying that the key issue is about stopping people reoffending, rather than "curing" them. But do we know that child sexual offenders have a particular high rate of recidivism? As I understand it, the majority of child sexual offenders offend against family members, and consequently, once they've been caught, they don't have much opportunity to reoffend. See this Home Office report: "Reconviction rates of serious sex offenders and assessments of their risk" (pdf file).

Emma

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Alan H
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Re: Sex Offenders

#16 Post by Alan H » February 17th, 2011, 11:27 pm

Nick wrote:You say "human rights" are important. Well, yes. But what we are now seeing is an expansion of so-called "human rights" which are nothing of the kind. "Rights" are a slippery concept at the best of times, and are far too important to have them arbitrarily defined by foreign judges.
I thought this, but had to go and check.

It was a ruling by the UK's Supreme Court, not some 'foreign judges'.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Sex Offenders

#17 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » February 17th, 2011, 11:29 pm

Nick wrote:As I see it, there are three issues here: is it safe to de-list someone who has been guilty of a sexual offence? ... On the first, I am inclined not to de-list (even if we allow appeals) ... [W]here a person has been convicted of a crime deemed serious enough to put them on the register, then on the register they should remain.
That's not how it works. At the moment, if someone commits a sexual offence deemed serious enough to put them on the register, but not serious enough to warrant a sentence of 30 months or more in prison, then they get taken off the register [---][/---] after seven years, if their sentence is under six months, or after ten years, if their sentence is six months to 30 months. So someone sentenced to two years in prison can come off the register after ten years, but someone sentenced to two and a half years has to stay on for life. Where's the logic in that?

Emma

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Alan H
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Re: Sex Offenders

#18 Post by Alan H » February 18th, 2011, 12:23 am

Alan C. wrote:
Alan H
However, it's not as simple as some anti-HR make it out to be. I listened to a short discussion on the radio yesterday. Take the example of a 22-year-old teacher falling for a 15-year-old boy in her class. She is guilty of under-age sex and, IIRC, there is a mandatory three year sentence and she is placed on the sex offenders register
But that case can not rationally be described as paedophilia (doesn't the victim have to be pre-pubescent?,) and I'll wager she wasn't given a prison sentence (mandatory or not)
It was said the sentence was mandatory. However, it's not just paedophiles who get put on the sex-offenders register. It's emotive talking only about paedophiles, but what about the others?
Had it been a 22 year old male teacher and a 15 year old female pupil, he would certainly have been banged up.
Hasn't this been discussed before? I'm not sure what the outcome was.
I wonder what would happen if two 15 year olds were caught having sex? Would they both be jailed? Just the boy? Neither?
Ditto.
My broadband is back up to speed :D
I had forgotten you were having problems - I hope the fix is permanent!
You listen to Jeremy Vine Alan? (I looked it up on iplayer) I can't stand the bigoted prick.
I had an email conversation with him a few months ago. I can't remember the details, but he misrepresented what some politician had said. We agreed to disagree.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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jaywhat
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Re: Sex Offenders

#19 Post by jaywhat » February 18th, 2011, 6:29 am

I am rather surprised and pretty disgusted that gay issues have been included on this thread. I thought this was a genuine humanist forum with most of the people taking part being thoughtful and open and - right, I shall stop here.
I must force myself to go back and read all the comments and then try and concentrate on the single point - of sex offenders having the right to appeal.
I do not want to suggest whether anyone should or should not win an appeal because every case is sifferent, but I think it is wrong to assume the results of appeals in such an ignorant way and then put forward the view that even allowing an appeal is wrong. Where is the logic here?

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jaywhat
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Re: Sex Offenders

#20 Post by jaywhat » February 18th, 2011, 6:30 am

Alan C. wrote:I don't think you can be "cured" of paedophilia any more than you can be "cured" of gayness.
They should stay on the register for life, appeals whether successful or not; cost money.
This set me off, Alan. I cannot believe you have said this about gays in the same sentence.

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