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Sex offenders registry urgently needed

Published:Thursday | May 24, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer


Both noted clinical psychologist Dr Pearnel Bell and child and family therapist Dr Beverly Scott are calling for the speedy implementation of a sex offenders' registry and strong punitive action and counselling for the perpetrators of sexual and physical abuse of children.

The call comes against the background of the investigation launched by the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Carnal Abuse (CISOCA) into the case of a nine-year old girl who was allegedly buggered by a 45-year-old man in Chapelton, Clarendon.

Bell said the sex offenders' registry was needed urgently so that offenders could be easily identified.

"It needs to be put on the front burner that people who are sex offenders are marked so that they don't get the opportunity to go around children and inflict harm," said Bell.

In noting that sex offenders generally sought jobs where they could get close to children, she said the registry would help employers to keep them away from vulnerable children.

"They get into jobs that give them access to children. Usually, they put on a very moralistic act - a kind of defence mechanism where they don't want to be caught, so they become overly moralistic and they become unsuspecting," said Bell. "Once they are found out, they need to be marked, so while legal procedures are being taken, they also need psychotherapy."

Like Bell, Scott said she believed sex offenders should be identified and made to pay for their crimes.


"We should fast-track the sex offenders' registry so that people can know who these persons are," said Scott. "We really need to know who they are so we can protect our children from them."

Scott said that social and legal pressure would force a change of mindset regarding abuse, making the average person more sympathetic to victims and more antagonistic towards the perpetrators.

"Social pressure and legal pressure forced the hand of people," said Scott. "The Childcare Protection Act says if you know of any sexual abuse or any form of abuse of a child and don't report it, you can be fined up to a quarter of a million dollars in court."

Scott said paedophiles also need psychological help, as according to her, some of them might have been victims of such abuse themselves.