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The United States (and other countries) Public Sex Offender Registries
Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2018
The United States is the only country that has a sex offender registry that is available to the public. There are other countries that have registries, but they seem to be available only to government workers.
Why does the United States make their Sex Offender Registry public?
In 2003, 22-year-old Dru Sjodin came missing. It was found that a registered sexual offender kidnapped her and murdered her. In 2006, President George W. Bush signed into law the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. This act created a national sex offender registry that each state must update their registered offenders on.
The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Child Safety act and The SORNA (Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act) includes a tiered system of classifying sec offenders which establishes a national minimum registration periods based on the seriousness of the offence. It also means the offender must have in person updates by the convicted sex offender, so they can update the registry. This act standardizes for information sharing between jurisdictions, the public and other entities.
Megan's Law also had an effect into passing the SORNA act as well. Megan's law is named after a 7-year-old Megan Kanka, a little girl who was raped and murdered by a known registered sex offender who moved across the street from the family. All states now have a form of Megan's Law. (www.meganslaw.com)
By making this information public, the United States hopes to try and prevent future crimes by registered sexual offenders. Neighbors, parents, victims, teachers and other concerned citizens can view offenders around them as well as the crimes they committed; making the US a much safer place.
All 50 states in the United States have registered sex offender information available to the public. In addition to the states, US Territories such as Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have their information public as well. All Indian Tribes that reside in these areas also provide public sex offender data. If someone has been convicted of a sexual crime on any of these "grounds" their information is made available for the public to see and use.
The Australian National Child Offender Register (ANCOR) is a web-based system used in all jurisdictions. Only Authorized police have access to this registry and they use it to monitor offenders convicted of child sex offences and other specified offences once they are released from prison. Th public does not have access to this registry. There have been some rumor that Western Australia has a public sex offender registry, but we have been unable to locate that.
Australia's offender registration and legislation for each Australian state and territory
Ontario was the first Canadian Province to enact a sex offender registration system, and they did so in 2001. Each of the other provinces as passed its own regulations to participate in the National Sex Offender Registry. This database is administered by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and provides police with rapid access to current vital information on convicted sex offenders to assist in the prevention or investigation of sexual offences.
There are dozens of active petitions on the internet asking for the Minister of Public Safety of Canada to make the registry public. It just takes a quick google search to find and sign!
For more information on Canada's sexual offender registry
South Korea does in fact have a public sex offender registry available to the public. It was enacted in 2000 and includes any and all offenders that are convicted of a sex offense. The length of time that an offender's information is made publicly available on the website is tied to the length of incarceration received by the offender for the underlying offense. The South Korea registry information is like most US states offender profiles. However, they do include a summary of case facts.
South Korea's sex offender registry
The United Kingdom passed its initial national sex offender registration act in 1997. Qualifying offenders are required to provide certain registration information to local police officials and maintain that registration information stay current in the event of any changes. The registry can be accessed by the police, national probation service and HM prison service persons. Private companies running prisons also have the ability to access the registry.
As of right now, the sex offender registry is not open to the public nor does it look like they are looking into making the information public any time soon. However teachers, doctors, landlords and club managers are sometimes notified of a persons registry.
France set its registration law in 2004 and it went into full force in 2005. There is no public disclosure of any kind for registration information.
Germany does not have a nationwide sex offender registration system. But many states have developed a sex offender file called HEADS in order to better track sex offenders and their release from prison and while they are on supervision in the community. This takes place in Bavaria, Saxony, Brandenburg and North Rhine-Westphalia.
South Africa passed its legislation directing the establishment of National Register for Sexual Offenders (NRSO) in 2007. It became operational in 2009. The primary use of the registry in South Africa is to enable employers and certain government officials to conduct checks. They do not have a public site nor does it appear to be designed for investigative use by police officials.
More information on South Africa's SOR
From what we were able to find, Mexico does not have a sex offender registry of any kind. There was no findings that they have a public registry or an internal registry for police and federal officials.
Many countries have petitions asking for their government to make the information available to the public like the United States does. You can find more information on a particular country by running a few searches on the internet. Laws are always changing, and it's up to the people to fight for those laws they believe in. Many countries do not think that a public sex offender registry will help their communities or offenders reintegrate into society. What do you think? Tell us below!