Tuesday, July 18, 2006


This may seem a little strange at first but as a survivor of sexual abuse in childhood I feel that I cannot lend my support to the proposed Sarah’s law. I have very good reasons for this and I will share them with you.

Firstly, as important as a law such as this may seem, I really don’t feel that it will do anything except drive these sexual predators even further underground. This will make it more difficult to keep tabs on them and control their movements. Recently published photographs of two paedophiles filming children in a park, clearly show, that they have an ability to evade those who are supposed to monitoring them. It seems that it is being left to the media to draw attention to these offenders and to put a halt to their vile behaviour.

So how will any expansion of this type of monitoring fare any differently? The aim of ‘Sarah’s Law’ will be to allow the general public access to information to know who these sex offenders are and where they live! What happens if they get the information wrong? Someone’s life could be ruined just because they look similar to a known sex offender. The part of the proposed law which would please me is making life as difficult as possible for the sex offender, but this should be the role of the judicial system and not the general public. Further to this I feel that to create such a law will continue to give that legal system the get out clauses it currently exploits.

The system in place already gives the opportunity for judges to pass small sentences in the knowledge that they can somehow compensate this by ordering the inclusion on the sex offenders register. Local authorities and police forces across the country already have access to this register, so how will public access to this ensure that the information is shared more effectively?

Findings show, that there are failings in the tracking and supervising of known sex offenders, and these failings have been highlighted by various daily and Sunday newspapers. It is claimed in a recent report that 97% of released paedophiles conform to sex offenders rules, in America where a similar law to the one proposed (Megan’s Law) is in place this figure is down to 80%. That’s a full 20% of sex cases running around unsupervised.

Another reason I feel that I cannot offer my support to this law is because of my own actions later in life. I went looking for my abuser. Armed with a sharp, heavy weapon my intention was to cause him serious damage. I made it as far as the front door of the house where the abuse had taken place. If it had not been for the fact that a woman came to answer it, I would be writing this from a prison cell. Did my abuser really deserve to ruin my life any more than he has already? NO! And he/she would not deserve to destroy that child’s life anymore by them losing a parent to prison because of a fit of rage. There wouldn’t be a parent in the country who wouldn’t want to seek revenge for their child and the legal system has proven unsympathetic in cases where a parent, relative or friend has taken revenge.

There is also a call for chemical castration, a call which apparently is being discussed by the Home Secretary, in my opinion this will do very little to cure the problem. The large bulk of the abuse I suffered was psychological. Castration would not have stopped this. Sure it would have stopped the perpetrator from fulfilling the physical element of sexual gratification but nothing in regards to the mental factor. Sexual abuse is both physical and mental.

Now what is really needed is a one strike and you're out law. If someone is found guilty of a sexual crime, especially one against a child, then the penalty should reflect the damage caused. Most victims will never truly recover from the experience and therefore the sentence they are given is one of life. The penalty therefore should be life without the chance of parole. Bearing in mind that almost 70% of all paedophiles will have abused between 10 and 450 victims, the current penalties do not reflect this. The rest, 30% will have abused between 1 and 10 victims. Whether it is one victim or more the distress will be something that is carried throughout the victim’s entire life, surely the penal system should reflect this.

If the system wants to do something that is really going to leave a legacy which honours the memory of Sarah Payne and the others who have either died, or been left scarred by sexual abuse then,

1. Start by giving sentences that mirror the crime.
2. Begin a programme of physical awareness classes to all school age children. Ensure that this includes lessons on proper and improper contact with an adult.
3. Introduce free classes for parents who have difficulty in talking to their children about sexual issues, don’t keep leaving it to strangers and peer pressure to do the job.
4. Stop thinking foolishly that sex offenders can be rehabilitated, look at the statistics of re-offending and take that into consideration when sentencing.
5. Tighten up on internet laws so that paedophiles cannot keep using it as a source of information and a platform to share their filth.
6. Create an international code that is effective in tracking paedophiles to make it more difficult for them to escape justice by moving country.
7. offer a greater level of support mechanisms to victims of sexual crime and finally


Facts about paedophiles and paedophilia:

1. 70% of sex attackers will have abused between 10 and 450 victims, the rest 30% will have targeted between 1 and 10.

2. 66% of paedophiles are known to their victims, only 34% are strangers.

3. 24,572 people were on the sex offenders register in the year 2003/4 this increased by 18% to nearly 29,000 in 2004/5. Although it is difficult to ascertain how many of these are for offences against a minor. It is also not possible to quote figures for offenders committing crimes before 1997 as these figures are not included as the register was not retrospective.

4. Between 1980 and 2001 there were almost 70,000 reported crimes of gross indecency or sexual intercourse with a female child. The actual amount of sexual abuse cases are difficult to cover as most acts of sexual abuse go un-reported; some studies have put this figure as high as 95%.

5. The internet has become a tool for paedophiles sharing information between each other. Arrest figures for offences relating to abusive images rose from in (549)2001 to (2,234) in 2003.
6. Sex offenders will abuse a number of times prior to arrest. Some surveys will have this figure up to fourteen.



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