Sexual abuse, particularly of children, is an abhorrent crime,
which causes lasting damage to its victims – yet it has been found
that those who commit this crime once are likely to do so again.
For that reason, some member states have set up national “sex offenders
registers”, which log the personal details and location of convicted
offenders, in order to supervise them in a way which minimises the
risk to the community. Such registers are essential for any “vetting
and barring” system, which stops sex offenders who pose a risk from finding
jobs working with children or other vulnerable people.
These methods – when responsibly used as part of a wider programme
of management – can play a key role in preventing reoffending, yet
many member states do not yet have them in place. Furthermore, some
sex offenders deliberately seek to avoid national controls by travelling
abroad, counting on the fact that their criminal records will not
follow them. To foil such attempts, the report calls on states with
registers to share their information internationally – ideally via
Interpol, which already has a database for this purpose – so that offender’s
movements abroad can be overseen. This would be more effective,
it believes, than a Europe-wide sex offenders register.
Accurate national information, carefully managed and properly
shared internationally, is the key to keeping children and other
vulnerable people safe from repeat sex offenders, wherever they