What does the public think about sex offender registers? Findings from a national Australian study

Psychiatry, Psychology and Law. https://doi.org/10.1080/13218719.2020.1805813.

Posted: 18 Nov 2021

See all articles by Lorana Bartels

Lorana Bartels

Australian National University (ANU) - ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods

Karen Gelb

Independent

Caroline Spiranovic

Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania

Kate Warner

University of Tasmania

Lynne Roberts

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Julia Davis

University of South Australia - School of Law

Date Written: 2020

Abstract


This article presents data from questions about sex offender registration orders in a large national survey on Australian public opinion about adult sex offenders. It outlines the legislative frameworks that govern these registers in Australia and discusses the use of public registers, the research on the effectiveness of sex offender registers, and Australian attitudes to such registers. Our surveys of three cohorts of members of the Australian public reveal strong public support for sex offender registers, especially for cases involving child victims. However, there was also support for judicial discretion in the imposition of orders and reduced support for automatic registration where a non-custodial sentence is imposed. The Australian Government has recently announced the establishment of a national public sex offender register, but our findings show limited support for this approach. The implications for policy and practice are considered.

Keywords: Australia, jurors, public opinion, sentencing, sex offender registers

Suggested Citation

Bartels, Lorana and Gelb, Karen and Spiranovic, Caroline and Warner, Kate and Roberts, Lynne and Davis, Julia, What does the public think about sex offender registers? Findings from a national Australian study (2020). Psychiatry, Psychology and Law. https://doi.org/10.1080/13218719.2020.1805813. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3961812

Lorana Bartels (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) - ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods ( email )

Beryl Rawson Building (13)
Canberra, ACT 0200
Australia

Karen Gelb

Independent ( email )

Caroline Spiranovic

Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania

Private Bag 89
Hobart
Tasmania, 7001
Australia

Kate Warner

University of Tasmania ( email )

French Street
Sandy Bay
Tasmania, 7250
Australia

Lynne Roberts

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Julia Davis

University of South Australia - School of Law ( email )

GPO Box 2471
Adelaide SA 5001
Australia
83027209 (Phone)
83027128 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://people.unisa.edu.au/Julia.Davis

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