Community activist, Sandra Catron (Facebook) finally managed to get her petition for a sex offender’s register in the Cayman Islands filed with government Tuesday. For several years Catron has been campaigning for the establishment of an official public list of convicted sex offenders which will name and shame those who have been found guilty of a sex related crime in order, Catron says, to make it more difficult for them to continuing offending. Catron collected more than 1100 local names for her petition but has been struggling for many, months to get the petition accepted by the authorities. Finally, the chief officer in the portfolio of internal and external affairs, Franz Manderson agreed to take the petition at the Glass House.
- A fancy online registry doesn't prevent anyone determined to re-offend, from doing so, like the lady says, it's just vengeance and punishment, nothing more, and it prevents them from getting and keeping jobs/homes. If a person commits a crime, punish them, if they commit another crime, punish them more, period, just like we do with any other criminal.
Catron says that the anonymity that these offenders have which is given to them indirectly in order to protect victims from public exposure, merely allows offenders to keep reoffending once they are released from jail and does nothing at all to help the victims.
- Well, since most studies out there show that sex offenders have the lowest recidivism of any other criminal, this is based on personal feelings and not facts. And publishing the names of offenders, does nothing to "protect" the victim, it only makes it easier for any vigilantes to find and target the offender.
“My motivation is to protect the child victims and anonymity merely protects the perpetrators who continue to abuse because people do not know who they are,” Catron told CNS after she had delivered the petition. Aware of the problems that many offenders are related to their victims and that the register would not be a fix all she said it was a step forward towards the community as a whole coming together to protect these young victims. “If nothing else it is a gesture to the victims to say we care and we are going to support you by exposing the perpetrators.”
She said it was important to start somewhere and find a way of stopping these offenders returning to the family situation where they committed the abuse in the first place and either continuing to abuse the same victims or pick out new ones. If everyone knows it becomes harder for offenders to find victims.
Catron said the implementation of a register had to go hand in hand with much more support and counselling for victims as well as wider awareness of the real harm caused to victims. She said the petition was a first step and an expression of support for a proper register. Although there is a lot of work to be done before the register becomes a reality Catron said at least government was now aware of how much support there was for it.
- And we also need to stop ignoring the facts on sex offenders, and educate the public, kids, etc.
It is not clear whether any register that is created would be held by the police or the ministry. Manderson cited the questions over which government department would eventually be responsible for it as the reason for the delay in government being able to accept Catron’s petition. Manderson has said he will hold on to the petition for a period of 21 days for review before handing the document over to elected officials to debate how they want to move forward.
Catron believes she has the support of law enforcement officials but wants to ensure that the register is an open public list and not just limited to the authorities and relevant agencies. “It is entirely pointless having a list that the public cannot access as it cannot prevent future offending if the wider community is not on their guard against on offender,” Catron said adding that she did not believe vigilantism in Cayman would be an issue as the community as she had seen little outrage about the widespread abuse of children in the society.
- Well, when the list becomes public, vigilantism is more likely, and you can view these articles, for proof of that.
Now the petition is in the hands of government Catron says she hopes that the government will move quickly to enact the necessary legislation to establish the register. “Government has moved at what seems like lightening speed on some laws recently I hope it will take this petition seriously and give this issue some priority.”