It’s a few years now since Derryn Hinch came to the US, trying to get support for an Australian version of Megan’s Law. Unbelievably, it’s still not a thing in Australia. Western Australia has a form of a publicly accessible list, and while it’s a start, I still don’t think it’s as good as the ones I have available here in the US.
At the time Derryn came to the US, I was in Texas. Texas has a phenomenal Sex Offender registry. You can search by name, address, or see the most wanted sex offenders. When we had an exchange student, we were able to look at the map, and see names, photos and addresses for sex offenders on her route to school. We didn’t alarm her, we just told her there was a couple places she should avoid. There was no vigilantism, there was no picketing, there wasn’t burning bottles thrown at people’s houses. It’s just a tool, like any other, that lets you stay informed, and keep your kids safe.
We’ve moved to Florida, and they are way more pro-active here. They put up signs out the front of people’s houses in some counties. There are hundreds of pretty licence plates for cars here, with everything from the space shuttle to manatees on them, but if you’re a registered sex offender, you have one choice. Lime green. Makes it pretty easy to spot a sex offender cruising past a school… Their driver’s licence also identifies them. Schools here make visitors sign in with ID. This clearly identifies an unwanted.
I want someone to give me a valid reason Australia doesn’t have a sex offender registry. A real reason. Not some bullshit excuse about vigilantes. There’s 300 million people here, and everyone has access to the sex offender registry, and there is NO hunting of pedophiles. There’s no burnings at the stake. There’s no vigilantism. I call bullshit on that excuse.
The other excuse I constantly hear is about how some poor 18 year caught sexting with his 16 year old girlfriend ends up on the sex offender registry, and has to pay for life for their one indiscretion, and you know, “kids are kids”. I’m going to call BS on this one too. Every single sex offender tries to play this card. They were all some poor teenager caught with their girlfriend. Nobody ever admits they raped a kid. Matt’s mom had a kid who moved in next door to them, who was on the sex offender registry. In Texas, they’re legally obliged to tell the neighbours they’ve moved in. They tried to pull the whole “it was a misunderstanding with his girlfriend’s parents” crap, but a quick look at the sex offender registry, which actually tells you what the person did, let us know he raped a 12 year old.
Here’s the other thing about the US registries. They actually list what the offence was. They don’t name the victim, or go into explicit detail, but you can see whether someone really did get caught with their close to consensual girlfriend, or if they violently raped a child, or a man, or a woman. If you really did get popped for sexting, wouldn’t you want people to be able to see that, instead of just being a general sex offender?
Seriously, there is no reason to object to a sex offender registry. It’s a tool for keeping everyone safe, not just kids. Australia needs to step up and start protecting the innocent, not the offenders. People should be allowed to make decisions on how to keep themselves and their families safe, and you can’t do that without information.
Here’s the interview with Derryn from a few years ago. It’s all still relevant now.