Wednesday, 12 March 2014

‘Expose sex offenders’

By Linda Straker

A Child’s Rights Advocate wants Government to adopt a policy that will not only publish the names of all persons convicted of sexual crimes, but one that will also forbid sexual offenders from gaining employment where they can find the opportunity to directly prey on minors.

Chairman of the Grenada National Coalition on the Rights of the Child said that if Government was to adopt and enforce such a policy, this will aid in creating a safe environment for children.

“We at the Coalition are very concerned about the growing number of persons who are continuously charged by police for sexual crimes against children,” said Ann Greaves, who believes that a significant number of adults have no respect for children.

“Children should be left to enjoy their childhood, play and have fun that is age appropriate. When an adult introduces them to things that are not age appropriate, they are deprived of that childhood experience, which is important to the overall development,” she said, while confirming that the Coalition has written to the Minister for Education recommending the adoption of a policy that will publish the names of sexual offenders.

“If you look at the data there are many cases of repeat sexual offenders, so parents have a right to know who these people are; some have served time for sexual-related offences against children. The general public needs to be aware of these persons, who are sometimes in trusted positions,” she said.

Greaves said that data from the Police, the Court and the Child Protection Agency is showing that not only female minors are affected by child sex crimes, but young males.

“Within the last few days we have had at least two persons appearing before the Court on charges of raping a male minor and the perpetrators were trusted individuals,” she said.

“Why should trusted individuals prey on minors? It’s an indication that there are persons within the system who should not be in some positions; they cannot be trusted among children,” she said.

“If we have policy in place to look into the background of these individuals, it will ensure that in the future their names will be published and they should never be able to find employment where there are children,” she said.

Government in 2012 amended the legislation to ensure that child sex offenders receive not only a maximum of 30 years imprisonment, but also the relevant psychological assessment and intervention.

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